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Stemming the Rise of Latino Homelessness: Lessons from Los Angeles County

Latino Policy & Politics Initiative

Year: 2019

Homelessness is a national concern and for many municipalities a local crisis. Los Angeles County has the largest number of unsheltered homeless individuals of any jurisdiction in the nation. In 2017, there were an estimated 55,048 individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County (LAHSA 2017). In Los Angeles County, Latinos made up 48 percent of the county’s population, and 35 percent of the homeless population (LAHSA 2018). However, Latinos are likely to be undercounted in homeless counts; they are more likely to live outside of traditional homeless spaces (e.g., homeless shelters and encampments), rely heavily on social networks, and use public services at lower rates than other racial/ethnic groups (Conroy and Heer 2003; Molina 2000). Latinos are also more likely to live in overcrowded households (Burr, Mutchler, and Gerst 2010; Krivo 1995; Myers and Lee 1996), a characteristic not captured in official homeless counts but one that likely contributes to unstable housing.

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