13,000 become homeless every month in Los Angeles County, study says

AlJazeera – by Haya El Nasser

LOS ANGELES – Chronic homelessness is such a daunting problem in Los Angeles County that even after 10,000 people were moved into housing in the last three years, about 13,000 people on public assistance slip into homelessness every month, a new study has revealed.

The number of people who become chronically homeless overwhelms the dwindling supply of affordable housing, according to a report released today by the Economic Roundtable, a research organization based in Los Angeles.  

“Ending chronic homelessness will be feasible if fewer people become homeless,” said Daniel Flaming, author of the report. “This requires the combined resources of health, mental health, social service, education, justice system and housing agencies to restore a place in the community for homeless individuals.”

The report, titled “All Alone,” said there is not enough help for children and young adults at risk of homelessness. It estimates that 42 percent of people who experience homelessness do not receive the help they need to become housed. Half of all homeless public assistance recipients are children. The report concludes that providing help for children and young adults is crucial “to reduce the feeder pipeline from childhood poverty and homelessness into adult chronic homelessness.”

The report recommends that public assistance programs start flagging “tripwire events” that lead to homelessness – from children not attending school regularly and long-term unemployment of parents to domestic violence – and connect them to agencies that can help them quickly.

The analysis looked at records of 9 million county residents on public assistance at any time between 2002 and 2010.

Susie Shannon, executive director of the non-profit Poverty Matters, is not shocked by the high numbers. “Our recent homeless count showed a 12 percent increase (44,000 people) in homelessness both in Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles,” she said.

The most urgent intervention, she says, is financial. “The answer to keeping someone in their home is rental assistance,” she said.

Shannon says the report should have focused more on the dire need for affordable housing and the bureaucratic barriers to getting it. The wait in Los Angeles County for Section 8 federal housing vouchers was 10 years in 1999, and the waiting list closed in 2004, the report noted.

When applicants are issued federal vouchers for low-income housing, they may not be able to receive it without a home address. Homeless can’t get a post office box because the U.S. Postal Service requires a physical address. “The housing authority sends you a letter, but if you are living in your car or living on the street, you can’t get it,” Shannon said.

Some homeless advocates are turning to experts in Utah who managed to reduce chronic homelessness by 91 percent. “Next month, we’re bringing out the architects of that plan,” Shannon said. “Everyone who is chronically homeless, they gave them homes.”


7 thoughts on “13,000 become homeless every month in Los Angeles County, study says

      1. Yeah, me too, NC. Slept in the warehouse I worked at for about a year (after having to move from the house I lived in for almost 14 yrs.), then my car for the last 8 months (while still working) I was there. I could have rented a room, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t stand to be around clueless sheeple for any length of time anymore so it really wasn’t a viable option as far as I was concerned. Rather sleep in a car… and did.

        If nothing else, that was what motivated me to get the hell out of that sh#thole. Now I have a 2 bedroom apt. for $200 less a month (total) than I was paying in L.A.

        Couldn’t have made a better choice, imo. Love this place!

  1. Gee…maybe if they got rid of all of the illegals stealing all of our jobs and bringing the other outsourced jobs back to the US, that might help stop people in LA from rapidly becoming homeless. But hey, that’s just me.

  2. I was down on my whole luck too awaiting a disability from the VA who just sat around twiddling their thumbs and taking time. They just sat on their asses and lied.

    I AM STILL FIGHTING THEM FOR A BACK PAY CHECK AND DISABILITY ON MY KNEES. I did get 100 per cent, on other service related things, but here is the rub

    I have knee damage from a fall in service. The VA SAYS YOU DID NOT CLAIM THE FALL INJURY WITHIN A YEAR OF LEAVING SERVICE. This has been going on for 38 years.

    Last Janusary I found the regulation on the Dept Of Veterans Affairs, that if a active duty service person or civilian has a slip and fall on a military base. IT IS A AUTOMATIC DISABILITY and no claim has to be submitted. It just has to be reported to the base dispensary or base hospital.

    The VA REPS who work for the VA do not even know their own regulations in the slip and fall areas. They owe me A HUGE BACK PAY and still have not heard anything back on my rebuttal . The last VA rep I saw Said his Computer was not working, IT WAS I SAW IT WORKING. He just did not want to help in any way he was a retired VET REP who is a volunteer. THE WHO VA SYSTEM is still ignoring Vets and they die every day awaiting rights that have happened to them, so ADD THOSE TO THE HOMELESS TOO.

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