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2019 homeless count, by the numbers

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Take a closer look at the sobering stats and trends in LA’s worsening homelessness crisis

The Washington Post/Getty Images

The results of an annual countywide homeless count are in, and they paint a bleak picture of the region. According to the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority, nearly 60,000 people live without permanent shelter on a given night in LA County.

LAHSA calculated that estimate, along with other data on unhoused residents, through a combination of physical counts conducted by volunteers and surveys administered by researchers.

The result is an in-depth report presented to the county’s Board of Supervisors this morning. It highlights ongoing trends in a regional homeless crisis that local officials have struggled in recent years to address.

Here’s a closer look at some of the key numbers included in the report.

58,936: LA County residents experiencing homelessness (a 12 percent increase since last year).

36,300: City of Los Angeles residents experiencing homelessness (up 16 percent since last year).

75 percent: Share of homeless residents who lack permanent shelter (in both the city and county of LA).

54,882: LA County residents LAHSA estimates became homeless in 2018. Of the more than 100,000 people who likely experienced homelessness at some point during the year, 21,631 were housed through county programs and an estimated 27,080 were able to reenter housing themselves.

63 percent: Share of homeless residents who are now without housing for the first time. Of those experiencing first-time homelessness, 53 percent say they lack housing for economic reasons.

16,528: People living in cars, vans, or RVs. In the city of Los Angeles, it’s illegal to do this in residential neighborhoods, leaving only a patchwork of commercial streets available for those sleeping in vehicles overnight.

11,086: People living in tents and makeshift shelters. That’s up 17 percent since last year’s count.

3,926: Youth experiencing homelessness. That’s up 24 percent since last year, though LAHSA says its methodology for counting homeless youth has changed.

71 percent: Share of those experiencing homelessness who do not have a serious mental illness or substance abuse issues.

75 percent: Share of homeless residents who have lived in LA County for at least five years.

33.2 percent: Share of homeless residents who are black. Meanwhile, black residents make up 8 percent of the county’s population. LAHSA attributes this discrepancy to “structural racism,” and a committee investigating the issue earlier this year recommended 67 strategies for addressing it—including tenant protections, expanded social services, and enforcement of laws preventing discrimination in both employment and housing.

16,529: Chronically homeless residents, who have been without housing for a year or more and have a disabling condition

5,303: Units of supportive housing for chronically homeless residents approved through the city of LA’s Measure HHH. More than 1,300 are now under construction, though no permanent units have been completed yet.

1,309: Homeless residents with HIV or AIDs—a huge 77 percent increase over last year.

24,493: People placed into interim housing in 2018. Countywide, an additional 1,841 beds became available in the last year. In the city of Los Angeles, more are on the way through Mayor Eric Garcetti’s A Bridge Home program.

1,187: Homeless residents in Los Angeles City Council District 4, which is represented by Councilmember David Ryu and includes parts of Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Sherman Oaks. That’s a 53 percent increase over 2018, the largest in any of the city’s 15 council districts. Only three saw decreases since last year. District 3, which encompasses the western San Fernando Valley, and District 15, which includes Watts and the Harbor area, both saw spikes of at least 45 percent.