How many homeless people are in West Hollywood?
As part of a regional effort, the City has counted the number of homeless people in West Hollywood every other year since 2005. The count was also done in 2016, on January 28.
The results are shown in the chart below. The number spiked to 87 in 2016, but the peak was 111 in 2005. You can see the numbers by hovering over or touching each column.
West Hollywood homeless rate compared to other cities
We can compare West Hollywood’s homeless count to nearby cities by adjusting for population. West Hollywood had about 24 homeless people per 10,000 residents in 2016. That was a third of Santa Monica’s rate and much lower than Los Angeles. It was three times Culver City’s rate and six times Beverly Hills.
Growth in West Hollywood homeless count compared to other areas
How much has West Hollywood’s homeless count grown? The answer depends on which year we pick for comparison. If we compare 2016 to 2015, the number doubled. If we compare 2016 to 2005 — the earliest available and highest count — the number has declined 22%.
We looked for a similar pattern in the counts for Los Angeles County as a whole, the Westside, and the Los Angeles core (radiating out from Downtown to Hollywood, Silverlake, etc.). We have biannual counts for 2005 through 2015. They show a pattern that declines at first, hitting lows in 2011, then rising again, but still below the 2005 values. The chart below shows these numbers, but we turned them into an index for easier comparisons.
We don’t have counts for the other Westside cities prior to 2009. However, at least since then, their trends are different. Santa Monica had a big drop from 2009 to 2010 and the count has been stable to declining since then. In Beverly Hills, the number has declined each year since 2009. Culver City had stable counts in 2009, 2011, and 2013, but a jump in 2015.
What else we know about West Hollywood homeless people
In West Hollywood’s latest count, over half of the homeless people were found east of Fairfax Avenue, they were all individuals (no families), and the majority were males over age 25.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority provides some additional information about homeless people across broad regions. If the homeless in West Hollywood are like those in the core area (Downtown, Hollywood, etc.) or like those in the Westside communities, then:
- 30% to 40% or so are chronically homeless
- 30% to 40% suffer from mental illness
- A quarter have substance-abuse issues
- Up to a quarter have a physical disability
- 10% to 20% are veterans
The primary homeless counts were done at night, but the City also did daytime counts in some years. According to a March 21, 2011, staff report to the City Council, the daytime counts were 111 in 2005, 99 in 2006, 88 in 2007, 98 in 2008, and 127 in 2010.
The report says that, “The increase in daytime census numbers as compared to nighttime census numbers is believed to be due, in large part, to a meal voucher distribution program that takes place at a local church each weekday morning.”
We do not have the nighttime count for 2007, but, based on the daytime counts, it seems fair to assume that 2007 was less than 2005.
Note: This article was updated on May 10, 2016, to include daytime counts.
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