Los Angeles Begins 2023 Homeless Count
Last week, Los Angeles County launched its 2023 homeless count.
Although the Los Angeles Housing Services Authority (LAHSA) does its annual count, due to the new leadership around the county zeroing in on homelessness, there is extra attention.
In the meantime, volunteers will be hitting the streets and counting those experiencing homelessness. The result of the count is expected in late spring to early summer.
Pasadena, Glendale, and Long Beach began conducting independent homeless counts later last week.
What Should We Expect from the Count?
With multiple municipalities around the Greater Los Angeles area declaring a state of emergency on homelessness, this year’s homeless count is very important.
While Mayor Bass doesn’t expect homelessness to eradicate overnight, the count will be a good measuring stick of progress.
Her Inside Safe Initiative launched late last year and those around the city have been noticing a difference. The homeless count will determine how much of a difference it truly has made.
However, progress in cleaning up homelessness is not the only important result that this homeless count will bring. As Councilmember Nithya Raman, the chair of the Housing and Homelessness Committee explains, “no amount of urgency is enough to end homelessness without money from the federal government.”
That is why having an accurate count is vital to solving this crisis. The data collected from it will allow the city and county of Los Angeles to ask for the money necessary to eliminate homelessness.
Last Year’s Homeless Count
The 2022 homeless count conducted by LAHSA was subject to much criticism from local officials.
The criticism came from the numbers counted in Venice. The northwest quarter of the neighborhood has been notorious for encampments, yet LAHSA found zero homeless individuals there.
This led former City Council President Nury Martinez to request an audit of the count and question whether the agency should even be in charge of the count.
This year, the hope is that the changes that have been made to the agency and the count will result in an accurate depiction of the crisis.
Mayor Bass hired a new chief executive officer to oversee the count a day before it began. Va Lecia Adams Kellem was a member of the mayor’s transition team and has assisted her in homelessness thus far.
Before the storm at the beginning of the month, Kellem assisted Bass in finding 213 homeless people housing.
In addition to a new lead in the count, they have also changed the way they will conduct and review it as well. For the first time, they will use an app called Ersi, a mapping and data company with specific features to count homelessness.
The application is used in over 50 homeless counts over the country.
LAHSA has also hired a demographer and statistician to review the count’s data so they can report it to the LA City Council with confidence.
While we won’t know the results of the homeless count for a few more months, we will be sure to update you when it is released.
For the latest news in the Greater Los Angeles area, keep up with BOMA on the Frontline.