Los Angeles County has a larger American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) population than any other county in the United States (165,513). The county also sits on the traditional homeland of three AIAN tribes: Fernandeno Tataviam, Tongva, and Chumash. However, the AIAN community is often underrepresented in sample data. Further, identity is often misclassified. For example, the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found that approximately 1,800 people experiencing homelessness identify as AIAN (of both Hispanic and Non-Hispanic origin) – meaning that just over 1% of AIAN people in the county are experiencing homelessness. However, in the Healthy LA Natives study, a 2016 survey of AIAN people in Los Angeles County, 14% of respondents reported experiencing homelessness. While the two data sources have different sample sizes and methodologies, the discrepancy in results warrants an examination of the underrepresentation of the AIAN population across sources for data available in Los Angeles County. Historical underrepresentation and misclassification are problematic in that it ignores the unique challenges of this population and may divert resources and services that are required to address the specific needs of the population. This brief builds off of Los Angeles County’s Community Forum on Native American Homelessness report and analyzes data specific to the AIAN population experiencing homelessness.
American Indian and Alaska Native Homelessness
Homelessness Policy Research Institute