Business & Economy

How Los Angeles cut its homeless family population

Los Angeles' Skid Row contains one of the largest concentrations of homeless people in the United States.
Los Angeles' Skid Row contains one of the largest concentrations of homeless people in the United States.
Robyn Beck /AFP/Getty Images

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Los Angeles cut its number of homeless families for two years in a row, according to a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The report looked at homelessness statistics in 25 cities around the country. It found that L.A. cut its homelessness rate by 12 percent in 2014.

Los Angeles Mission President Herb Smith says one of the reasons behind the drop is a commitment from government agencies, both at the federal and local levels. The Obama administration has prioritized homeless families through federal initiative Opening Doors. Federal funding specifically for homeless families has led to a larger, more coordinated county program that targets them and gets them help quickly, according to Smith.

"The concept being bringing these services together, being able to help people across agencies and specifically targeting need. [That] has helped to make those housing placements faster," Smith said.

But Smith was quick to note that homeless families only make up about 13 percent of L.A.'s homeless population. The rest of the area's homeless are individuals.

The report shows that this larger group grew by 3 percent last year. Overall the two groups balanced one another out, making L.A.'s homeless population in 2013 very similar to 2014.