By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released the results of this year’s Homeless Count on Thursday, September 8, revealing an increase in number of people experiencing homelessness across LA and Pacific Palisades.
The Homeless Count, required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is coordinated by LAHSA each year for all of LA county, excluding Glendale, Long Beach and Pasadena.
A total of 69,144 people were found to be experiencing homelessness in LA County as of February, a 4% increase from 2020.
A total of 41,980 individuals were found to be experiencing homelessness citywide, a 2% increase from 2020.
The count did not take place in 2021 due to COVID-19. The People Concern said it expected to see an increase due to challenges presented during the pandemic, including job losses, unforeseen medical expenses and more.
“We are disappointed to see the numbers increase again,” The People Concern CEO John Maceri said in a statement, “but we are cautiously optimistic that the increase is at a lower rate than we have seen in previous years.”
LAHSA reported that the Palisades also saw an increase in unhoused individuals. A total of 82 individuals were reported, according to LAHSA—an increase from 58 in 2020.
The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness works in conjunction with LAHSA on a local iteration of the count. Community members gathered early Wednesday morning, February 23, to participate in the Palisades.
The numbers gathered by PPTFH—which were the same as what they encountered during the last count in 2020—are reported to LAHSA, which then uses a formula to calculate a total number for the area.
Co-chair Sharon Browning told the Palisadian-Post that while there was no change in their count, the task force did notice a significant change in the number of vehicles—23 to 38—and an increase in tents and makeshift shelters—five to eight.
Browning said data shows the area along Pacific Coast Highway saw a higher count, and the area from Sunset to Temescal increased significantly—from 17 to 30.
PPTFH reported that the Palisades is seeing increased numbers of homeless people coming into and out of town, which LAHSA does not take into account.
“We are seeing more homeless people coming through [Pacific Palisades] on PCH, which is requiring heightened services from PPTFH outreach,” Browning said. “Many of these individuals are dealing with serious mental illness and addiction, which requires intensive work … We are doing our best, but are stretched further in our capacity each day.
“We need more data and information from LAHSA, which I understand will be coming by the end of September. However, with a 4.1% increase in homelessness throughout LA, a 17% increase in tents and vehicles … programs that provide immediate relief for those in existing street encampments must be a priority.”
Across Council District 11, which spans from Mar Vista and Del Rey to the Palisades, Venice and beyond, LAHSA reported a 38.5% decrease in numbers.
“The numbers on any given night can fluctuate, and the data is not exact, but the big trends are useful and insightful,” Councilmember Mike Bonin said in a statement. “It shows we’re making progress in District 11 … I’ve got three months left in office, and my team and I are going to continue that work every single day.”
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