Achieving Functional Zero in Los Angeles County

Functional Zero is that point when a community’s homeless services system is able to prevent homelessness whenever possible and ensure that when homelessness does occur, it is rare, brief and one-time.

If Los Angeles County is to achieve and sustain Functional Zero, its homeless services system must be able to provide permanent housing to everyone depending on it to secure such housing.

Below is an interactive tool that allows users to estimate how long it would take to reach Functional Zero based on the following variables. For more info, click here.

  • Base Population – Los Angeles County’s annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count.
  • Annual Inflow – the number of people who become newly homeless in a given year.
  • Baseline System Exits – the number of people that the homeless services system currently has the capacity to place in permanent housing; in 2021, the system has the capacity to permanently house 21,000 people.
  • Self-Resolved – the number of people experiencing homelessness who are able to obtain permanent housing on their own, without assistance from the system; this typically equates to about 40 percent of the Annual Inflow.
  • Additional System Exits – the number of additional permanent housing placements that are possible beyond the Baseline System Exits in a given year. Along with reduced inflow, these additional system exits help drive reductions in the Homeless Count.

You can use this tool the gauge the impact of the above variables on the timeline to Functional Zero. For example, you can estimate how the timeline can be shortened by cutting the inflow into homelessness by half, or by funding 5,000 additional system exits.

To reduce inflow into homelessness, public policy changes are needed to increase the supply of affordable housing, mitigate rent increases, and prevent unjust evictions. To increase exits into permanent housing, further investments are necessary to increase the availability of rental subsidies and supportive services, and to enable people experiencing homelessness to increase their income.