Alternative Analysis Pegs L.A. Homeless Count at Over 100,000

Casting doubt on an official estimate of around 52,000, researchers at a Los Angeles-based nonprofit put the number at close to double that level. That's accounting for anyone who became homeless at some point during the year.
September 23, 2018, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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"The Los Angeles homeless count," Doug Smith writes, "has become an annual civic drama, starting with thousands of volunteers spreading across the county on three nights in January and ending five months later with the unveiling of the new number: 52,765 this year."

But there's plenty of disagreement surrounding the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's official number, with some like the nonprofit Economic Roundtable questioning statistical methods used. Using data from 2017, "the group came up with a new statistical approach that yields a very different number: 102,278 — reflecting the number of people who become homeless at one time or another during the year."

By focusing more closely on the wider group of people at risk of homelessness (and not just on the most visibly and chronically homeless), service providers could "prevent that slide into persistent homelessness with intensive help at the beginning," said Daniel Flaming, president of the Economic Roundtable. In the meantime, L.A.'s homeless authority plans to address some of the concerns raised with "potential improvements" next year.

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Published on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 in The Los Angeles Times
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