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Homelessness in Los Angeles County

Homeless in Los Angeles County

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 persons may be found homeless on any given night in Los Angeles County. Unaccompanied youth, from minors through age 24, with a heavy concentration in the Hollywood area, are estimated to make up about 6,000 of these.

Although homeless people may be found throughout the county, the largest percentages are in the central Los Angeles area (27%) and in South Los Angeles (16%). Most are from the Los Angeles area and stay in or near the communities from which they came. About 8% are veterans. African Americans make up 40% of Los Angeles County's homeless population - disproportionately high compared to the percentage of African Americans in Los Angeles County overall (about 8 percent).

Other Facts About the Homeless Population in Los Angeles County:

  • 9% are under age 18.
  • 31% are female.
  • 15% are in family units (often headed by a single mother}.
  • 16% are physically disabled.
  • 30% are chronically homeless.
  • 18% of 18+ homeless population have substance abuse disorders.
  • 30% of 18+ homeless population suffers from serious mental illness.
  • 34% of 18+ homeless population were victims of domestic/intimate partner violence.

Race General Population Homeless Population
Latino 48% 35%
White 28% 20%
Asian/Pacific Islander 14% 1%
African American 8% 40%
Other 2% 3%

Source: Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority

Homeless Population Counts
By the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority

Since 2005, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, an agency of the City of Los Angeles, has conducted numerical and demographic counts of homelessness, not only within the city of Los Angeles, but throughout Los Angeles County. Over the course of three days in January, this count is conducted with the help of thousands of volunteers branching out throughout Los Angeles County.

Homeless Population Counts in Los Angeles County
All Los Angeles County & City of Los Angeles

Year City of Los Angeles All Los Angeles County
Total Unsheltered Sheltered Total Unsheltered Sheltered
2017 34,189 25,237 8,952 57,794 42,828 14,966
2015 25,686 17,687 7,999 44,359 31,018 13,341
2013 22,993 14,968 8,025 39,463 25,136 14,327
2011 - - - 39,135 20,517 19,176
2009 - - - 38,602 21,073 16,745
2007 - - - 52,956 39,168 13,788
2005 - - - 65,287 53,429 11,858

Homeless Population Counts in Los Angeles County
By Service Planning Areas

Year Antelope Valley
(SPA 1)
San Fernando Valley
(SPA 2)
San Gabriel Valley
(SPA 3)
Metro LA
(SPA 4)
West LA
(SPA 5)
South LA
(SPA 6)
East LA County
(SPA7 )
South Bay/
Harbor
(SPA 8)
2017 4,559 7,459 3,552 15,393 5,511 9,243 5,189 4,282
2015 2,818 5,216 3,093 11,681 4,276 7,513 3,571 3,006
2013 2,113 4,836 2,794 10,472 3,667 7,045 2,429 2,168
2011 1,412 3,720 2,499 10,086 3,512 7,541 3,208 2,644
2009 1,609 3,312 2,780 10,339 3,738 5,504 2,993 2,401
2007 1,238 4,464 6,648 16,109 4,580 7,786 3,806 3,806
2005 2,404 8,051 7,145 14,041 4,773 11,919- 4,982 5,918


Map of Los Angeles County Service Planning Areas

Percentages in tables that follow are against total homeless population for that specific geographic.

2017 Ethnic Percentages City of Los Angeles All County of Los Angeles*
African American 16,080 (47%) 21,921 (40%)
American Indian/Alaska Native 325 (1%) 713 (1%)
Asian 283 (1%) 607 (1%)
Hispanic/Latino 10,422 (30%) 19,391 (35%)
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 97 (0.3%) 143 (0.3%)
White/Caucasian 6,297 (18%) 11,151 (20%)
Multi-Racial/Other 684 (2%) 1,262 (2%)



2017 Demographic Characteristics City of Los Angeles All Los Angeles County
Veterans 2,518 (7%) 4,828 (8%)
Chronically Homeless Individuals 10,617 (31%) 16,916 (29%)
Chronically Homeless Family Members 136 (0.4%) 615 (1%)
Substance Abuse Disorder 6,321 (20%) 9,285 (18%)
Brain Injury 3,301 (11%) 4,691 (9%)*
Persons with HIV/AIDS 897 (3%) 1,160 (2%)
Serious Mental Illness 10,617 (31%) 15,728 (30%)
Physical Disability 5,894 (19%) 8,829 (16%)*
Developmental Disability 2,104 (7%) 3,213 (6%)*
Domestic Violence Experience 11,277 (36%) 17,945 (34%)

* Accumulated numbers for all Service Planning Areas. These do not necessarily equal county-wide totals.



According to the 2017 homeless count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, there were in Los Angeles County 184 unaccompanied, unsheltered homeless minors (under age 18); 3,969 unsheltered transitional age youth (age 18-24) not in family units; 946 sheltered transitional age youth.


Source: Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority


Also see: Shelter Partnership, Inc


Is it less costly to help the homeless get off the street than to leave them there? Weingart Center, in a 2015 interview with Fast Company, proposed that an "investment" of $10,000 can help a homeless person obtain housing, food, job training and ultimately a job, along with support services to acheive that end. On the other hand, leaving a homeless person on the street costs Los Angeles an average of $35,000 each year in medical and emergency services, mental health care, social services and law enforcement. Jailing a homeless person pushes that cost up by a third.