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2020 LA County Homeless Count Shows 50 Percent Increase In People Who Became Homeless Since Last Year




A flower buyer looks back to a homeless woman and her sidewalk encampment as businesses in the flower district in Skid Row reopen in time for Mother's Day on May 8, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
A flower buyer looks back to a homeless woman and her sidewalk encampment as businesses in the flower district in Skid Row reopen in time for Mother's Day on May 8, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

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The 2020 homeless count for Los Angeles County was released Friday and shows double digit increases in people experiencing homelessness at both the city and county levels.

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County rose to 66,433 people this year compared to 58,936 last year, almost a 13 percent increase. The City of Los Angeles saw an increase of 14.2 percent from last year. Because the count was conducted in January, before the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not clear from the homeless count what role the virus outbreak has played on the numbers of people experiencing homelessness since doing the count. KPCC housing and homelessness reporter Matt Tinoco reports that the bigger issue is the 83,000 people who became homeless over the last year, a 50 percent increase in that time period, a number he says works out to about 227 people becoming newly homeless every day.

The report also showed that the numbers in certain groups of people like Black Angelenos and women continue to stagnate, and even worsen in some cases. The number of Black Angelenos without permanent, habitable housing during the count was about 34 percent of the county's total homeless population. To put this in perspective, about 8 percent of L.A. County's population is Black. The count also showed a 16 percent increase in women experiencing homelessness, with 49 percent of cisgender women in that group and 60 percent of transgender women reporting domestic or intimate partner violence according to the Downtown Women's Center.

Click here for a breakdown of all the data and what it means and here for a deeper dive on why homelessness continues to rise in Southern California from KPCC/LAist’s Matt Tinoco.

Guests:

Heidi Marston, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the lead agency coordinating housing and services for homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County

Matt Tinoco, KPCC/LAist reporter covering housing and homelessness; he tweets @onthatbombshell

Pete White, executive director of Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), a nonprofit organization working to create opportunities for people experiencing poverty in Los Angeles; he is also a member of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s commission on Black people and homelessness