LA homelessness experiences small decrease

Despite the decrease, Los Angeles still has tens of thousands of people living on the streets.

The annual homeless count in Los Angeles County has revealed a slight decrease in the number of homeless residents, with a 0.3% drop compared to the previous year, highlighting a persistent crisis in California where tens of thousands of individuals continue to live in cars and encampments.

The federally required tally conducted in January 2023 indicated that 75,312 people were homeless on any given night across the county, slightly lower than the 75,518 individuals reported in 2022. 


The big picture: Within the city of Los Angeles, approximately 45,252 people were homeless, leading to growing public frustration over the proliferation of tents on sidewalks and in parks.

What they’re saying: Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, who declared a homelessness state of emergency on her first day in office in December 2022, emphasized that the recent decrease in homelessness marks the beginning of progress and expressed her commitment to further efforts to address the crisis.

  • “This is not the end, it is the beginning and we will build on this progress, together,” Bass said in a statement.

Driving the news: The estimates were released on the same day the Supreme Court ruled to allow cities to enforce bans on homeless people sleeping in public places, a decision that was met with caution by Bass, who warned against using the ruling to criminalize the unhoused population and emphasized the need for more effective solutions to address homelessness.

  • The ongoing crisis is visibly impacting various neighborhoods in Los Angeles, with downtown areas like Skid Row being particularly affected, as thousands of people live in makeshift shanties and tents line entire blocks. 
  • As part of efforts to combat homelessness, Mayor Bass has allotted a record $1.3 billion in the city’s budget to provide shelter and treatment programs for unhoused individuals.
  • The annual homeless count, conducted by volunteers with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, serves as a crucial tool for distributing resources for homeless services as required by Congress, with the results providing valuable insights for addressing the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County and beyond. 
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