Homeless Population in Venice Up 32%, Study Shows
February 2, 2023
The homeless population in three high-priority neighborhoods of Los Angeles has increased by an average of 18%, according to a newly released, yearlong count conducted by the RAND Corp.
The report – the Los Angeles Longitudinal Enumeration and Demographic Survey – found an increase in homelessness of 32% in Venice, 14.5% in Hollywood and 13% on Downtown's Skid Row.
The survey took place from September 2021 to October 2022 and is separate from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's annual tally. LAHSA is conducting its 2023 count this week and expects to have results by the spring or summer.
Jason Ward, the lead author of the report and associate economist at RAND, said the count determined "that there is a lot to be learned by measuring progress on homelessness more regularly than the once-a-year count of unsheltered people conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority."
Researchers also surveyed 400 unhoused people during the first six months. Of those individuals, nearly 80% said they were "continuously homeless" for over a year and 57% for more than three years.
Survey data, released last week, also showed that nine out of 10 respondents were interested in housing, and 29% were on wait lists.
According to RAND, the study is the largest count of unhoused people in Los Angeles outside of LAHSA's tally. Researchers said that though the methodology was different, the survey's results found a 15% increase in homelessness in the targeted areas compared to LAHSA's last count in January 2022.
LAHSA's 2022 count revealed 41,980 unhoused people in the city of Los Angeles, up 1.7% from 2020. In the county, there were 69,144 unhoused people, an increase of 4.1%.
Last year's count was followed by criticism from some Los Angeles city officials who pointed to issues with accessing data related to the count and inconsistencies. Some council members called for a third-party count of Los Angeles' unhoused population and a multi-year audit of authority's previous counts.
The RAND count determined some variation in unhoused people in the neighborhoods studied from month-to-month, with changes as high as 24%. Researchers attributed certain declines to city-authorized cleanups of encampments, but noted that the numbers came back up quickly.
Among the individuals surveyed, the most common answers for why unhoused people were not living in housing included never being contacted, privacy and safety concerns and issues with paperwork.