Latinos now make up 44.5% of LA County’s homeless population as experts continue to track trend

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The percentage of homeless people in LA County has fallen into the single digits, according to the latest homeless count from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

However, for Latinos or Latinas, this number has increased by 26%, now representing approximately 44.5% of the homeless population.

“The city and county are going to have to seriously think about why this number has increased so significantly,” said Shayla Myers, senior attorney at the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation, which helps tenants stay housed through resources and legal support. “It’s important to note that Latin American homelessness has been on the rise for years.”

According to the latest data, homelessness among most racial or ethnic groups has dropped, except among Latinos and those who identify as multiracial (non-Hispanic/Latino).

In the meantime, homeless black residents remain vastly overrepresented.

“We know that wealth inequality disproportionately harms people of color and disproportionately impacts Latino communities in Los Angeles,” Myers added.

LAHSA Commissioner Melissa Chinchilla has researched the topic for years, beginning with a partnership with the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute in 2018.

“We conducted an initial study of Los Angeles County to understand what was happening with Latin American homelessness and housing instability in the county,” she said.

Chinchilla has also studied this topic for years, starting with the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute in 2018.

“We conducted an initial study of Los Angeles County to understand what was happening with Latin American homelessness and housing instability in the county,” she said.

Access to certain benefits can be complicated and immigration status plays a role.

Although some benefits are not accessible, some people have avoided the benefits that are available.

Chinchilla points to changes made to the public charge rule under the Trump administration. “Really heightened awareness of anti-immigrant sentiment and fears around connecting to social services,” she said. “Anecdotally, we’ve heard of a lot of people opting out of the benefits they were entitled to.”

She said people feared it would jeopardize their immigration status in the United States.

Chinchinlla adds that LAHSA will create a task force focused on this issue next year.

“To identify potential best practices for engagement, as well as to better understand what resources are needed for the Latino community and how the resources we currently have may or may not meet the needs of this population.”

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