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Westside Homeless Population Sees Dramatic Jump, Venice Tops List
By Jorge Casuso
July 30, 2019 -- Westside communities saw a 20 percent rise in homelessness in 2019, with Venice's homeless population surpassing 1,000, according to census figures released by the Los Angeles County Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA).
Venice with 1,128 homeless persons counted in January -- up from 847 last year -- topped the list of 16 Westside cities and communities analyzed by the Lookout, accounting for 37 percent of the area's total homeless population.
The number surpassed the 985 homeless people counted this year in neighboring Santa Monica, which had an estimated 91,411 residents in 2018, more than double Venice's population of some 40,000 ("Santa Monica Homeless Count Shows Slight Increase," March 21, 2019).
In all, the number of homeless persons living in the 16 Westside communities jumped from 2,626 in 2018 to 3,181 this year, a 21 percent increase.
Excluding Santa Monica, which saw its homeless population rise by 28 persons from 957 in 2018, or 3 percent, the 15 other Westside areas saw a 31.5 percent hike in homelessness this year.
The steepest increases outside of Venice were in the following cities and communities:
The explosion in Malibu's homeless population was due to persons living in vehicles -- which rose from 11 in 2018 to 92 this year.
It was a pattern reflected in other Westside areas that saw steep increases in their homeless populations.
In Venice, the number of persons living in cars, vans and RV/campers jumped from 269 last year to 458.
West Los Angeles saw a hike from 119 to 190, Palms from 49 to 81 and Culver City from 62 to 90 persons living in vehicles.
Santa Monica's increase was more modest, rising from 104 in 2018 to 115 this year.
Outside of Santa Monica -- where 331 homeless persons, or one-third of the total were sheltered -- nearly all of the Westside's homeless population lived on the streets.
In the other 15 Westside communities, fewer than 100 people were staying indoors -- in emergency shelters, hospitals, motels and jail -- on the night the count was taken.
There were 43 homeless persons in emergency shelters in Culver City, 30 in West Los Angeles and 10 in Venice. In Westchester/Playa Vista nine were in transitional housing.
The other 2,084 homeless persons outside Santa Monica were living on the streets -- in vehicles, tents and makeshift shelters.
In Santa Monica, the unsheltered population increased from 646 in 2018 to 654.
Six Westside communities saw their homeless populations fall.
In Westwood the number of homeless persons decreased from 233 in 2018 to 142; while in Del Rey, which borders Culver City, it fell from 201 to 96, due to a steep drop in the number of persons living in vehicles -- from 149 to 55.
In Westchester/Playa, the number of persons living in vehicles also fell, from 148 to 88, with most living in vans and campers, while the overall homeless population saw a more modest drop, from 333 to 307.
In Pacific Palisades the homeless population decreased from 107 in 2018 to 81 this year, in Playa Vista from 62 to 52 and in Brentwood the homeless population plummeted from 62 to 16.
The remaining four Westside communities saw increases.
Mar Vista's homeless population rose from 135 in 2018 to 147, West Hollywood's homeless population rose from 100 to 131, Marina del Rey's doubled from 12 to 24, while in Beverly Hills one homeless person was added to the 18 counted last year.
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