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Morning Brief: Unhoused Vets, Another Recall, And Griffith Park’s Birthday

A map on a red bicycle rides past the sign that reads: Skid Row City Limit. POP Too Many.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has created a Blue Ribbon Commission to “assess existing structures and systems” regarding homelessness.
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Nov. 12.

Of the nearly 66,500 unhoused people in L.A. County in 2020, approximately 3,900 were veterans (the 2021 count was canceled due to COVID-19). But according to a new study, those folks struggle mightily to find permanent housing — in part because of gross understaffing at the VA.

The study was conducted by the RAND Corporation and USC, and researchers found that for many homeless veterans, “obtaining housing was their life’s goal, but many became disillusioned about their chances of achieving it,” reports my colleague Nate Perez.

That disillusionment may come from the fact that to reach those 3,900 individuals with service, the VA employed just five people. These “outreach services appear to be ineffective," said Sarah Hunter, who directs the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness in L.A.

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For individuals who did gain access to permanent housing, researchers found that symptoms of distress, depression and psychosis decreased, and overall quality of life increased.

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Of course, this information is one of many disquieting aspects of homelessness in L.A. The same count that found 3,900 unhoused veterans last year also determined that homelessness overall rose 13% in the city from 2019 to 2020 despite myriad, ongoing efforts to intervene. 

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

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Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

Lisa Chilton, a bisexual 63-year-old woman, spent five years couch surfing when she was unhoused, and she’s worried she might have to do it again. (LAist)

L.A. entered a new stage in COVID-19 prevention, requiring proof of vaccination at a wide swath of indoor spaces. (LAist)

Kiesha Nix has been appointed as the first Black, female vice president of the Lakers, changing the face of upper management in the organization. (L.A. Watts Times)

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Non-meat meat is having a moment in L.A. Here are some of our favorite local plant-based dishes. (LAist)

A high-speed car chase took cops from Anaheim to the City of Industry after a suspect stole a $120,000 Range Rover off a dealership lot. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Crowd safety was on everyone’s mind after the horrific tragedy at Astroworld in Houston. Here are some tips for what to do if you find yourself in a crushing crowd situation. (NPR)

Hate turkey? You needn’t suffer this Thanksgiving; we have other options, from bourbon steak to Cajun to Thai street food. (LAist)

Before You Go ... This Weekend's Outdoor Pick: Griffith Park's 125th Birthday

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Stock Outdoors Griffith Park:LA Zoo3.jpg
Hikers utilize the trails at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Andrew Cullen for LAist
(Andrew Cullen/Andrew Cullen for LAist)

Celebrate Griffith Park on Saturday with a slate of events that includes oral histories of the Old Zoo and a Tongva village that flourished where Fern Dell is now located, as well as visits to Hidden Amir's Garden, Griffith Observatory, and the Merry-Go-Round. You can take a self-guided tour or check out some of the programming, including Shakespeare performances and free admission to The Autry Museum.

Or, you could: Head to the desert for an eclectic music fest. Check out the spring issue of Pop-up Magazine onstage. Visit DesignerCon to see showcases of collectible toys and pop art, or Vulture Fest for cheeky discussions and screenings. Nosh on pupusas, pies, donuts, ramen, vegan tacos and butternut squash ravioli. And more.

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