The number of homeless people rose 18% in 3 of LA’s priority areas – Hollywood, Venice, Skid Row – according to the report

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The number of homeless people in three major Los Angeles neighborhoods has increased by an average of 18%, according to a year-long census by RAND Corp., which released results Thursday.

The Los Angeles Longitudinal Enumeration and Demographic Survey — which focused on Hollywood, Skid Row and Venice — ran from September 2021 to October 2022 and is independent of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s annual tally. LAHSA is conducting its 2023 census this week and expects results by spring or summer.

The report found that homelessness rose 32% in Venice, 14.5% in Hollywood and 13% in Skid Row.

Jason Ward, lead author and Associate Economist at RAND, said the census found “there is much to be learned by measuring progress on homelessness more regularly than the once-a-year census of homeless people, which is used by the Los Angeles Homeless Services are conducted by authority.”

The researchers also interviewed 400 homeless people over the first six months. Of these individuals, nearly 80% reported being “continuously homeless” for more than a year and 57% for more than three years.

Nine out of ten respondents were interested in an apartment and 29% were on waiting lists.

According to RAND, the study is the largest number of homeless people in Los Angeles outside of LAHSA’s list. The researchers said that despite using a different methodology, the survey results showed a 15% increase in homelessness in the targeted areas compared to LAHSA’s last census in January 2022.

The LAHSA’s 2022 census showed 41,980 homeless people in the city of Los Angeles, a 1.7% increase from 2020. The county had 69,144 homeless people, a 4.1% increase.

Last year’s census was followed by criticism from some officials, including city council members, who pointed to problems accessing data related to the census and inconsistencies in communications between the agency and council districts. Some council members have called for an independent census of Los Angeles’ homeless population and a multi-year audit of the agencies’ previous censuses.

In response, LAHSA announced changes for this year’s census, including using a new app and ensuring counters have access to paper maps and counting sheets for censuses if there are problems connecting to the internet. Agency officials said earlier this month that they also plan to hire a demographer and two data scientists for data analysis.

The RAND Census found some month-to-month variation in homeless people in the neighborhoods surveyed, with variations of up to 24%. Researchers attributed certain declines to city-sanctioned camp purges, but found that the numbers quickly rose again.

Among those surveyed, the most common answers given as to why homeless people weren’t living in shelters were never being contacted, privacy and security concerns, and problems with paperwork.

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. The number of homeless people rose 18% in 3 of LA’s priority areas – Hollywood, Venice, Skid Row – according to the report

Laura Coffey

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