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Homelessness in Los Angeles County

Homeless in Los Angeles County

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, in 2018, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 persons may be found homeless on any given night in Los Angeles County. Youth, from minors through age 24, with the largest concentrations in the Hollywood and Venice communities of Los Angeles, make up more than 700 of these.

Although homeless people may be found throughout the county, the largest concentrations 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 7% are veterans. African Americans make up 34% of Los Angeles County's homeless population - hughly disproportionate to the percentage of African Americans overall in Los Angeles County (about 8 percent).

Other Facts About the Homeless Population in Los Angeles County:

  • 9% are under age 18.
  • 31% are female.
  • 16% are in family units (often headed by a single mother}.
  • 13% are physically disabled.
  • 27% are chronically homeless.
  • 15% of 18+ homeless population have substance abuse disorders.
  • 27% of 18+ homeless population suffers from serious mental illness.
  • 25% of 18+ homeless population were victims of domestic/intimate partner violence.

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
2018 31,285 22,887 8,398 52,765 39,396 13,369
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)
2018 3,203 7,738 4,282 14,218 4,401 8,343 4,569 6,011
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.

Race/Ethnicity of Homeless
Point-in-Time Count, January 2018

Race/Ethnic Group City of Los Angeles All County of Los Angeles*
American Indian/Alaska Native 324 (1%) 565 (1%)
Asian 352 (1%) 545 (1%)
Black/African American 12,235 (39%) 17,825 (34%)
Hispanic/Latino 10,813 (35%) 17,540 (33%)
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 77 (0.2%) 221 (0.4%)
White 6,978 (22%) 12,538 (24%)
Multi-Racial/Other 506 (2%) 721 (1%)

Age Group of Homeless
Point-in-Time Count, January 2018

Age Group/Percentage City of Los Angeles All County of Los Angeles*
Under 18 3,022 (10%) 4,974 (9%)
18 - 24 2,052 (7%) 3,098 (6%)
25 and Over 26,211 (84%) 44,693 (85%)

Demographic Characteristics of Homeless
Point-in-Time Count, January 2018

Characteristic/Percentage City of Los Angeles All Los Angeles County*
Veterans 2,048 (7%) 3,886 (7%)
Chronically Homeless Individuals 8,360 (27%) 13,559 (26%)
Chronically Homeless Family Members 278 (1%) 516 (1%)
Substance Use Disorder** 4,738 (17%) 7,117 (15%)
Persons with HIV/AIDS** 588 (2%) 740 (2%)
Serious Mental Illness** 7,843 (28%) 12,748 (27%)
Physical Disability** 4,391 (16%) 6,756 (13%)
Developmental Disability** 1,764 (6%) 2,530 (5%)
Domestic Violence Experience** 9,088 (32%) 13,374 (25%)
Homeless Due to Fleeing Domestic Violence** 1,913 (7%) 3,076 (6%)

* Accumulated numbers for all Service Planning Areas. These do not necessarily equal county-wide totals.
** Percentage is prevalence in homeless population age 18 and over.



The 2018 homeless count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority found 63 unaccompanied homeless minors (under age 18) of which 28 were unsheltered; 1,577 unsheltered transitional age youth (age 18-24); and 1,521 sheltered transitional age youth.


The 2018 homeless count in Los Angeles County found 7,368 people living in cars or vans and 8,380 people living in recreational vehicles or campers.


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.

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