2018 Homeless Count Results: Key Information

For the first time in 4 years, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles decreased.

        In Los Angeles County 53,195 people are experiencing homelessness, a 3% decrease from 2017.

        In the City of Los Angeles, 31,516 people are experiencing homelessness, a 5% decrease from 2017.

        In the Los Angeles Continuum of Care (CoC), which comprises LA County excluding Glendale, Pasadena, and Long Beach CoCs, 50,385 people are experiencing homelessness, a 4% decrease from 2017.

        The Homeless Count is a point-in-time snapshot across 3 nights in January and does not estimate the number or demographic characteristics of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles over the year.


Strategic efforts to address homelessness are starting to make an impact. Four promising trends:

        More than 16,519 people who were experiencing homelessness moved into homes last year, more than any other year.

        Veteran homelessness decreased by 18% with dedicated resources, continued hard work, and local leadership – 2017: 4,792; 2018: 3,910

        The number of people experiencing chronic homelessness decreased 16% as we have continued prioritizing focused services to our most vulnerable, highest-need neighbors – 2017: 17,204; 2018: 14,389

        Youth housing placements increased 43%, and more than half of youth experiencing homelessness are now sheltered, a 20% increase over the last year – 2017: 3,233; 2018: 3,306


However, the forces driving people into homelessness persist...

        In Los Angeles, a severe shortage in affordable housing, increasing cost of rent, and stagnating wages are driving people out of their homes.

        L.A. County has a shortage of over 565,000 affordable housing units for low income renters— nearly 16,500 more than previously. (California Housing Partnership Corporation, May 2018)

        Since 2000, the median rent in L.A. County has increased 32%, while median household income has decreased 3% when adjusting for inflation. (California Housing Partnership Corporation, May 2017)

        When accounting for housing costs and other cost-of-living expenses, nearly one-quarter of L.A. County households live in poverty - the highest rate in California. (Public Policy Institute of California, 2018)


...and we see the results of those forces on our streets.

        More than 9,000 new people ended up on the street last year for the first time, a 16% increase over the year before. Forty-six percent (46%) of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness for the first time reported it was due to a loss of employment or other financial reasons.

        The data show a 5% increase from 2017 in the number of cars, recreational vehicles, tents, and makeshift shelters—which is a 32% increase since the 2016 Homeless Count. This may account for the widespread perception that homelessness is more visible than ever, despite the decrease in the number of people experiencing homelessness.


The Homeless Count helps us understand the demographic characteristics of people experiencing homelessness so we can target resources and improve services.


        Demographic information:

        Two-thirds (67%) of people experiencing homelessness identify as male, 31% identify as female, 2% identify as transgender, and 0.3% identify as gender non-conforming.

        80% are adults, 14% are families with children, and 6% are youth.

        Three-quarters lived in L.A. County before becoming homeless.

        65% reported having lived in L.A. County for 20 years or more.

        More than 3,000 people -- 6% of the homeless population -- became homeless due to fleeing domestic or intimate partner violence.

        1 in 4 self-report experiencing serious mental illness.

        1 in 8 self-report a substance abuse disorder.

        Notable trends:

        While there was a slight decrease in every other age category, there was a 22% increase in the number of seniors age 62 and older who are experiencing homelessness.

        While the Black/African-American population experiencing homelessness decreased 15%, they continue to be overrepresented. Black/African-Americans make up 35% of the homeless population while only making up 9% of the general population in the county.


We are working together across the city and county at unprecedented levels of collaboration and investment, and our plans are starting to show results.

        We are improving efficiency and streamlining administrative processes to move people into homes faster, but there is still a lot of work to do.

        Many of the economic forces that drive people out of their homes can be positively impacted through advocacy. Support policies to increase the construction and preservation of affordable housing.

        Support state and federal partners in devoting more resources for new affordable housing development and homeless services.