Let's ramp up our efforts: Homeless Count results are in

While LA Family Housing moved nearly 2,300 people into permanent homes during the past year, the number of people falling into homelessness over the same period overshadows our progress. In fact, across Los Angeles County, our partners have lifted 21,631 people out of homelessness – a 23% increase over the year prior. Knowing these statistics, it’s heartbreaking to read that The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count shows a 12% increase in those experiencing homelessness.

It is clear that the housing crisis and economic disparities are pushing more people into homelessness.

Since last year’s Point-in-Time Count, LA County saw a rise in homelessness of 12% to 58,936. The City of Los Angeles saw a 16% rise to 36,300. While we are encouraged to see a slower level of growth (4%) in Service Planning Area 2, where we focus our work, we recognize that until these numbers decline, we must continue to ramp up our response and invest more in prevention.

Last year, LA Family Housing’s Diversion team prevented nearly 660 individuals from falling into homelessness through financial assistance, legal, and job placement support. Our street outreach teams engaged in over 1,800 conversations with our neighbors experiencing homelessness, providing support that included document assistance, physical, mental health, and substance abuse services. 

Working hand-in-hand with our homeless programs, LAFH’s Real Estate team has expanded our development pipeline from about one project every two years to five projects at a time, with 268 permanent supportive housing units currently in development, while we own and manage over 400 units of permanent housing. Supportive housing is the answer to chronic homelessness – homelessness that is often driven by mental illness and substance use disorder.

LA Family Housing served nearly 11,000 men, women, and children in 2018 – a 47% increase over the previous year. We placed nearly 2,300 people into permanent homes – a 61% increase – with 97% of those placed remaining stable and permanently housed.

While we’re moving people into available housing faster than ever, there remains a huge shortage of available interim housing beds and affordable rental homes. LA County has a tremendous shortage of affordable housing units, and rents are rising faster for low-income renters and far faster than wages. Median household income decreased by 3% between 2000 and 2017, and a renter would need to earn $47.52 per hour to afford the median monthly asking rent. More than 2 million county residents pay more than 50% of their monthly income on housing.

LA Family Housing is helping more people than ever, but we must ramp up our efforts to address the growing inflow into homelessness. This means increasing affordable housing, preventing unjust evictions, and limiting rental increases. We must continue to scale up the solutions that are working to meet the size of the problem, invest more in prevention and diversion, and build on services and connections to those exiting foster care, the criminal justice system, and hospitals.

At the community level, the most important change we need to make is to rally support for the development of new housing. Everyone can help by saying yes to more housing in their neighborhoods.

Thanks to the investments made by the people of LA County through Measure H, the City of LA through HHH, and your incredible support, LA Family Housing is helping more people than ever sleep in a safe home tonight. Our urgent mission continues to help those who don't.

Stephanie Klasky-Gamer
LA Family Housing President & CEO