Homelessness increased by 12.7%. A staggering 66,433 people are experiencing homelessness in LA County.
Among families, homelessness increased by an alarming 46%. 12,800 family members are without a home.
What the Data Teaches Us
More shelters are needed.70% of those experiencing homelessness are unsheltered (i.e. sleeping on the street or in their cars).
More family shelters are needed. Although LA Homeless Services Authority says the 46% increase in family homelessness is mostly because of improved data-gathering methods, that means family homelessness has been massively underreported in past years. There are not enough family shelters to meet the need.
High rents and low wages are fueling the homelessness crisis. 2/3 of unsheltered adults are experiencing homelessness for the first time. 59% of them cited “Economic Hardship” as the leading factor.
Homelessness prevention is the key. 207 people experiencing homelessness find housing daily, but 227 lose their housing daily. In other words, the number of people losing their home outpaces the number who find housing. Prevention is the only way to sustainably end homelessness.
COVID-19 Could Mean a Greater Spike in Homelessness
The homeless count is based on data from mid-January, before COVID-19 began affecting employment. Now that the County’s unemployment rate hovers around 30%, the real numbers are sure to be much higher.
The moratorium on evictions is set to expire at the end of June, and if the County does not extend it, experts expect a massive surge in homelessness. A UCLA study estimated that 120,000 households could become homeless once moratoriums are lifted.
Door of Hope’s 2-Fold Plan to Respond:
Expand our Transitional Housing Program (link to TH page): We want to increase our capacity to shelter more families by operating a 4th transitional housing site by 2021.
Expand our Homelessness Prevention Program (link to HP page). The only way to slow the increase in homelessness is to slow the number of new people losing their housing. That’s why we launched a homelessness prevention program in 2019 to provide short-term rental assistance, combined with financial counseling and case management, so families stay housed and work toward self-sufficiency. COVID-19 has increased demand for this program and we are responding by doubling our program! Our original 2020 goal was to serve 50 families, and now we aim to serve at least 100.