On Friday, June 12, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) released the 2019-2020 point-in-time count for the number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. The numbers reveal a 14 percent increase of Angelenos that have fallen into homelessness bringing the total to 41,290 individuals.
The recent data shows an increase across the board in all categories, including families, seniors, veterans and youth. The causation is a direct result of housing affordability in Los Angeles as there are simply not enough affordable housing units available to meet the demands of the City. With over 550,000 rent burdened households in the Los Angeles region, nearly the same amount of units need to be created to satisfy the need.
In addition to LA’s inadequate housing supply, systemic racism and income inequality are drivers of homelessness showing that although 8 percent of the overall population in Los Angeles County is Black, they account for more than 34 percent of those experiencing homelessness.
“Homelessness is something that plagues our Black communities; these are not just numbers, these are people, these are members of our community who have fallen on hard times in an inflated market,” said Councilman Curren Price. “In District 9, I am pleased that we are on track to add more than 1,200 units of affordable housing and 814 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), but we need more creative solutions such as ‘A Bridge Home’ and ‘Project Roomkey’ going forward to house more people and win the battle.”
Earlier this year, Councilman Price championed the construction of the first “A Bridge Home” project in District 9 called “Bringing Hope to Hope Street,” which can house up to 100 homeless men and women from the community and help them transition into a stable home. Due to COVID-19, the shelter is working at a reduced capacity to maintain social distancing protocols. Two additional homeless shelters are planned for CD 9.
The COVID-19 Recovery Plan, which includes “Project Roomkey,” a program initiated by Gov. Gavin Newsom, places the most vulnerable population into hotel rooms. The program has allowed LAHSA to shelter over 4,000 people through Project Roomkey in the three months since the “Stay at Home'' order was implemented in March 2020. Currently, there is one “Project Roomkey” facility in District 9.