Homeless Population in Los Angeles County Increases by 16 Percent

A study reveals the number of homeless single adults and children has increased since 2011.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LAHSA/theycountwillyou.org
    Volunteers prepare to embark on the 2013 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, which is conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

    The homeless population of Los Angeles County has gone up 16 percent since 2011, according to a report released Friday.

    The report, released every other year by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, showed a sharp increase in youth homelessness, while there was a decrease in the number of homeless veterans and families.

    The changes come amid decreased federal funding for local programs that help the homeless and increased efforts in Washington to target veteran homelessness across the country.

    LAHSA conducted its most recent homeless count, in which volunteers fan out over the county for two nights, in January. The report is based on that count.

    The count found 58,423 homeless men, women and children, compared to 50,214 two years ago. The number of homeless single adults increased by 29 percent, while unaccompanied youth 18 and under went up a staggering 122 percent.

    “Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant reduction in federal resources available to fight homelessness,” said Michael Arnold, Executive Director of LAHSA in a press release. “The increase we see today in our homeless population demonstrates the direct relationship between resources to address the problem and our ability to have an impact.”

    In August 2012, federal funding for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program expired, a program which brought $80 million to combat homelessness in Los Angeles County between 2009-2012 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to the press release.

    In addition, sequestration has stopped the ability of local housing authorities to hand out Section 8 vouchers, which provide affordable housing for low-income families and others, Arnold said.

    Despite the cutbacks, Arnold attributed the drop in veteran and family numbers to government aid.

    “The Department of Veterans Affairs has significantly increased federal funding to end veteran’s homelessness,” Arnold said. “Los Angeles family service providers continue to improve services for families and have created new collaborations to better deliver the targeted services they need to regain stable housing.”

    “This clearly demonstrates how the right resources, effectively targeted, can prevent and end homelessness,” he said.

    The homeless population in Los Angeles among veterans has dropped 23 percent from 8,131 in 2011 to 6,291 in 2013, while the number of homeless families decreased from 9,218 in 2011 to 6,678 in 2013, according to the report.

    LAHSA plans to give a more detailed breakdown of the data in the coming weeks, including numbers specifically for the City of Los Angeles.