Latinos now 44.5% of LA County's unhoused population as experts continue to track trend

The data shows homelessness among most racial or ethnic groups dropped, except among Latinos and those who identify as multiracial

ByAnabel Munoz and Oscar Flores via KABC logo
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 5:07PM
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According to the latest data, homelessness among most racial or ethnic groups dropped, except among Latinos and those who identify as multiracial (Non-Hispanic/Latino.)

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The percentage of people experiencing homelessness in L.A. County rose to the single digits, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's latest homeless count.

However, for Latinos or Latine, that number increased by 26%, now making up about 44.5% of the unhoused population.

"The city and the county are going to have to do some deep consideration about why that number has increased so significantly," said Shayla Myers, senior attorney at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, which helps tenants stay housed through resources and legal support. "It's important to note that Latino homelessness has been on the rise for years."

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

Meantime, Black unhoused residents remain largely overrepresented.

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

Melissa Chinchilla, an LAHSA commissioner, has researched the topic for years, beginning through 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 when it came to Latino homelessness and housing instability in the county," she said.

Chinchilla also researched this very topic for years, beginning with the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute in 2018.

"We conducted an initial study of Los Angeles County to understand what was happening when it came to Latino homelessness and housing instability in the county," she said.

Accessing some benefits can be complicated, and immigration status plays a role.

While some benefits are not accessible, some people avoided benefits that are available.

Chinchilla points to changes to the public charge rule under the Trump administration. "A really heightened awareness of anti-immigrant sentiment and fears around connecting to social services," she said. "Anecdotally, we heard of a lot of folks that were disenrolling from benefits that they were entitled to receive."

She said people feared it could jeopardize their immigration status in the U.S.

Chinchinlla adds LAHSA will create a working group focused on this issue in the 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 that we currently have may or may not be meeting the needs of this population."

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