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Housing and Homelessness

LA County Housing Authority Calls For More Permanent Beds To Address Homelessness Crisis

A woman stands next to a made bed in a tiny home.
Zuri-Kinshasa Maria Terry, 46, in July 2021 inside the Tiny Home she moved into after experiencing homelessness, at the Tarzana Tiny Home Village which offers temporary housing for unhoused people.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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Over the last year, outreach workers engaged with more than 42,000 unhoused adults living on Los Angeles County streets. But less than 20% of those adults went into temporary housing.

That's according to data released on Monday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

LAHSA officials say the data reflect a pinch-point in the pipeline out of homelessness. With permanent housing options scarce, more people are staying for longer in beds meant for temporary stays — like a tiny home village, hotel rooms, transitional housing or even emergency shelter.

“So when an outreach team goes out and they’re engaging someone," said Molly Rysman, the homeless authority’s chief program officer,
"and they want to move them inside, if all the beds are already filled with people who have been there for the last 9 months, that interim housing bed is not serving the purpose we want it to send.”

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Rysman said the data speak to a need for more permanent housing, so that temporary beds can be used as intended.

What Politicians Want To Do About Housing

The unhoused population in Los Angeles continues to grow despite new funding to address the crisis.

Earlier in September, LAHSA released results from the 2022 homelessness count.

As my colleague David Wagner has reported, more than 69,000 people are experience homelessness in L.A. County on an average night, a 4.1% increase since the last count, in 2020. Those numbers were up 1.7% in the city of L.A.

Both of the current candidates for L.A. Mayor have called for more temporary beds. Businessman Rick Caruso has called for 30,000 more temporary beds to get people off the streets. He has also called for easing regulations that make building new housing more difficult — but that authority largely lies with the City Council.

His opponent, Karen Bass, has called for a mix of new temporary and permanent housing beds. That housing would come from both public and private sources.

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