Who's accessing services?

Newly released state numbers show that throughout 2020, nearly a quarter of a million people accessed homeless services through local agencies. About 160,000 were single adults, and nearly 85,000 in families with kids. About 90,000 of those who accessed services were in Los Angeles County. That data — submitted by 42 of the 44 local agencies that manage homeless dollars and services across the state — was not previously compiled or made public. That number is dynamic, and about 50% higher than the one-night snapshot, because someone may have been homeless at the start of the year, but housed by the end — or vice versa.

But it, too, could be an undercount, as it excludes some individuals who never interacted with homeless providers and also doesn’t include survivors of domestic violence who are omitted for safety purposes, according to Ali Sutton, the state deputy secretary for homelessness.

According to the state, nearly 40% of the quarter million who accessed homeless services, moved into permanent housing in 2020 — which could mean anything from moving back in with a family member to getting their own place.