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LA County Asks For A Deeper Study On Vulnerable Homeless Women

A homeless woman is seen sleeping on the street of Skid Row in downtown L.A. in May. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)
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Unaccompanied women are one of the most vulnerable homeless populations in Los Angeles County, and now county supervisors have voted to officially designate them as a subpopulation of homeless residents.

In this year's L.A. homeless count, women as a group made up roughly 32% of the homeless population — a number likely higher with the pandemic. Women are considered unaccompanied if they are over the age of 18 without partners, dependents or children.

Amy Turk is the CEO of the Downtown Women's Center which provides services to homeless women.. who often face gender-based violence:

"Domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking. We know that that compounds into the experience of complex trauma, which then results in more healthcare needs."

The supervisor's
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vote this week directs county officials to report back with a plan to conduct a countywide assessment of the needs of homeless women. That would lead to strategy development and allocation of resources. San Bernardino is the first and only other county in the country to recognize unaccompanied women as a distinct homeless subpopulation.

Other existing homeless subpopulations in L.A. County include veterans and families.

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