LAHSA: Opportunities for Advancing Racial Equity

The 2019 Report and Recommendations of The Ad Hoc Committee on Black People Experiencing Homelessness detailed the necessary actions to advance equity and eliminate racial disparities impacting Black people experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles County. Included in the report was a call to action for Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) to thoughtfully examine the drivers of inequitable outcomes (including practices and policies) within the homeless system and to set a course as an agency in advancing racial equity.

Since the launch of the Ad Hoc Committee and the release of the initial report, Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County have both continued to see an increase of people experiencing homelessness as reported in the 2020 Point in Time count. The annual point in time count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessnes reported a 13% increase in the County of Los Angeles and a 16% increase in the City of Los Angeles.

The Ad Hoc Committee report aimed to address the staggering overrepresentation of Black people experiencing homelessness; an alarming statistic that seemed to worsen since the release of the report. The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count reported that although Black people only accounted for 8% of LA’ county’s population, Black people represented 34% of those experiencing homelessness.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social justice uprisings of the summer have created an even louder call to action for LAHSA to re-examine its role in advancing racial and housing justice as a system leader.

It is against this backdrop that LAHSA first engaged with the National Innovation Service (NIS) in late-summer of 2020 to develop an Equity Action Plan that reflected the actions needed to become a justice based and equitable homeless system administrator.

 Download PDF of full report.