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New LA Times Analysis Suggests Much Of Local Homeless Community Suffers From Mental Illness, Drug Abuse or Disability




 A man stands in front of a homeless encampment, with the Hollywood sign in the background
A man stands in front of a homeless encampment, with the Hollywood sign in the background
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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A new analysis from the Los Angeles Times supports what many people believe: most of the county’s homeless community suffers from mental illness, drug abuse or disability. 

This report differs from a previous analysis from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which found only 29 percent of the population surveyed suffered from serious mental illness and substance abuse. Both studies based their numbers on 4,000 questionnaires from this year’s county-wide point-in-time count, but interpreted them differently. LAHSA has not contested the Times report. 

Meanwhile, the California Policy Lab at UCLA has released a national analysis on the health of homeless populations, finding higher rates of illness than reported by the Times. Today on AirTalk we look into these three surveys—and the potential consequences of the data.

Guests:

Ben Oreskes, staff writer covering homeless and housing for the Los Angeles Times

Sarah Dusseault, chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)

Janey Rountree, founding executive director of the California Policy Lab at UCLA, co-author of a recent report on homelessness



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