Official Count Shows WeHo’s Homeless Population Is Up 30% Over Last Year

A homeless person on Santa Monica Boulevard.
(Photo by Jon Viscott)

West Hollywood’s homeless population has increased by 30% according to data from the annual homeless count released today by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

The LAHSA report shows a count of 105 homeless people in WeHo during an annual street survey conducted in January. That compares with 81 counted in 2016 and 54 in 2015. The current report varies from that released last year, which showed 87 homeless people in West Hollywood, because of alterations LAHSA has made in its calculation of the count.

The count showed an increase of 16% of homeless people in all of Los Angeles County, with a total of 49,698. However, it does include Long Beach, Glendale and Pasadena, which conduct their own counts. The annual count is conducted by volunteers for the L.A. Continuum of Care, a local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for the homeless.

Of those counted in West Hollywood, most were found on the street, with four in vans, two in tents and eight in makeshift shelters.

Beverly Hills, a city adjacent to WeHo with a population of a similar size but nearly four times the land mass, had a count of 31 homeless people. That is a 94% increase from the 16 counted last year.

Other Westside cities and their 2017 homeless count include Santa Monica, 855 homeless for an increase of 20%, and Culver City, 226 homeless for an increase of 85%.

Given the transient nature of homeless people, the count cannot be interpreted as exact. And given changes in the LAHSA’s methodology, year over year comparisons are not exact either.

A homeless woman walking on Doheny Drive in West Hollywood.

Homelessness is a major issue in Los Angeles County, where rents have risen sharply as the construction of new housing has failed to keep up with population growth. New housing is a major issue in cities such as West Hollywood, where owners of houses and condominiums traditionally have opposed new developments that would put downward pressure on rents.

Proposition HHH, approved in November by voters in the City of Los Angeles, will provide $1.2 billion in bond money to build permanent housing over a ten-year period. Measure H, approved by county voters in March, will provide $3.5 billion over 10 years for rent subsidies and services. Together those measures are expected to create or subsidize 15,000 housing units and provide assistance to those living in them.

The City of West Hollywood also has stepped up its efforts to address the issue. In October last year, the city initiated a pilot program to provide outreach and services to homeless people at West Hollywood Library. Also, Social Services Supervisor Corri Planck was assigned to take on the role of coordinating the city’s homeless efforts.

Under the pilot program, homeless people can meet at the library during certain hours with organizations with which the city has contracted to provide services. Those organizations provide an array of services, ranging from housing and shelter to mental health and substance abuse treatment. The city contracts with other agencies such as the L.A. LGBT Center and homeless shelter providers for services.

Planck, in an interview with WEHOville in January, said there are no easy solutions to homelessness. One of the issues she said, is the ease with which people can cross the city’s boundaries. That’s one reason why West Hollywood is working with countywide agencies on the problem. Another issue is that homelessness can be the result of several different factors: poverty, mental illness and drug addiction, among them. Also there is a lack of affordable housing. “What we need regionally is more affordable housing, more housing vouchers and resources,” Planck said.


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Al Rantel
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Al Rantel

Well now we know what the city has become. WEHOmeless. Shame!

JJ
Guest
JJ

Beverly Hills does a great job in having businesses display this sign in their windows (it reads): “Give me spare change and I may never get off these streets. Give to organizations that could really help me and you could save my life. It’s up to you” Under that is says, “NOT SPARE CHANGE” “Please give to a charity not a panhandler” http://www.beverlyhills.org/change. Let’s not forget that some choose to live on the streets too (as mentioned in another WeHoville article).Cities like San Francisco and Portland that give no incentive for people with addictions to get help have only seen… Read more »

Homeless Indicates Our Helplessness
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Homeless Indicates Our Helplessness

@fine7760: Great common sense solution. We could be the solution that eliminates the cause. Now THAT would be creative and a huge gift to humanity and ourselves.

fine7760
Guest

Many years ago my late aunt asked me whey were there so many homeless in Beverly Hills. My answer was ; where would you like to be homeless, in downtown L.A. or Beverly Hills. Enough said!! Being homeless in West Hollywood is certainly better than just Hollywood to our east. It’s not a new problem, it has always been here, it has just increased. Years ago we had a homeless shelter on La Brea however it was closed down. With all the empty government buildings in Los Angeles County plus those belong to the federal government including the old V.A,… Read more »

Homelessness Indicates Our Helplessness
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Homelessness Indicates Our Helplessness

@ To The Left: Exactly, it would be good to see an organization like JFS who reaps vast financial benefits from the elderly, put forth a workable strategy and implement it as part of its social services edict. Too many supposedly able organizations keep examining the problem with long sticks while they shuffle the chairs at the table.

Nir Zilberman
Guest
Nir Zilberman

Tomorrow, is National Night Out it’s a great way, to do something good for our city, as we all know we have so many people without a home sleeping on our street, yes, i was reading few of the comment it’s all over the country. as a CREATIVE CITY we keep saying to the world, what don’t be creative and do something special for those in needs. our elderly, our homeless those we don’t gat a chance to celebrate life. let’s invite them to be part of our community, lets talk to them and show them love and respect, let… Read more »

ToTheLeft
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ToTheLeft

It’s an epidemic waiting to happen when people are sleeping on the street. And the bus bench on the corner is being used for a toilet. Public health hazards should be handled by the County Public Health Department . Not the Gay and Lesbian Center. The current cast of characters from both government and the non profit sector involved with housing / homeless issues have had 20 years to implement their agenda. . … There was a time when the Calais Jungle refugee camp in France was on the news every night. 6,000 migrants in a massive tent city .… Read more »

Christopher
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Christopher

And let’s start taxing the religious organizations that make millions from TV evangelism and real estate and shady business deals.

Jessica Mitford
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Jessica Mitford

The problem is we don’t have a “Che” type to bring the country to its feet.

Its time to start a revolution and tax all the one percent making these users of cheap labor pay ninety percent tax of their income starting with the Silicon Valley hypocrites.

Then let’s focus on the all white male developers in WEHO who are on the “pay to play” plan with corrupt white male politicians!

The guillotine is too good for them!

Mike
Guest
Mike

The homeless are not just a problem in West Hollywood but in the entire county. West Hollywood can plan and plan but until this problem is addressed by the rest of L.A. county nothing is going to happen.

JJ
Guest
JJ

The Pavilions Recycle Center draws a lot of homeless from all over. There is only one other recycle center near us around the Park La Brea area and not another one west of us until you hit the beach (most are located in industrial areas or along the freeways). If that center wasn’t at Pavilions, we might see a reduced number of homeless in and around the area.

Weho Resident
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Weho Resident

…and yet the City of West Hollywood spent $18 Millon to house 200 cars at City Hall and oh yeah, close to TWO HUNDRED MILLION on Weho Park with TWO pools…but we should call the sheriff’s if we see someone homeless. Just seems wrong doesn’t it?

Nir Zilberman
Guest
Nir Zilberman

Yes, I agree with you 100%. We are only here to look good, look at the saleries our city mangers make, social services manger it’s crazy, they don’t even live in WEHO. Never once walked the streets and talk to our homeless they do nothing but talk. I went to one meeting with social services from West Hollywood and The city of Beverly Hills, next to us. They manger and his employees walk the streets and help they homeless to get help. Why do our mangers don’t do it? They make enough money. Trust me. It’s so sad. They don’t… Read more »

Nir Zilberman
Guest
Nir Zilberman

With all the respect to some comments, it’s very simple, call the hot line or the sheriff station, doesn’t do any good. I myself took time and time few homeless to the sheriff station and they have nothing to do but give you a tiny blanket. As far hot line? try it, it takes forever to get them and 99% of the time they will tell you, all the shelters are booked.so let’s get real, let’s stop talking about the HOME-LESS let’s take real actions. I spend days and hours in the city social services office, they did even got… Read more »