Annual Independent Evaluation of the Homeless Initiative Shows Los Angeles County is Making an Impact

Los Angeles County is housing more people than ever before as it confronts a large and growing homelessness crisis, a new independent performance evaluation shows.

The annual performance evaluation assessed outcomes in fiscal year 2018-19, known as Year Three, of a comprehensive set of strategies approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2016 and carried out by the County’s Homeless Initiative with partners throughout the region.

The Year Three assessment found that the Homeless Initiative placed nearly 10,000 individuals and families in permanent housing last year—an increase of 25% over placements made by the Initiative in the previous year, accounting for close to half of the more than 20,000 placements made by the County’s homeless services system overall.

At the same time, fewer people are returning to homelessness after being placed in permanent housing, the evaluation found. The rate of return to homelessness dropped to 5.9% in Year Three, compared to 9.2% the year before.

In addition, the Homeless Initiative placed nearly 20,000 individuals and family members in interim housing during Year Three—an increase of approximately 27% over Year Two placements.

The independent, annual performance evaluation of the Homeless Initiative was conducted by Public Sector Analytics and submitted to the Board of Supervisors on January 6, 2020 by the County’s Chief Executive Office.

Despite a 12% year-over-year increase in the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s annual point-in-time homeless count for 2019, the Homeless Initiative’s Year Three performance was “effective and successful,” the researchers said.

The 2019 homeless count was “driven higher by the continuation of an upward trend in the housing market, which has pushed rents to levels increasingly out of alignment with incomes,” the evaluation said. “The forces driving this dynamic are largely outside the policy purview of the homeless services system and should not obscure the [Homeless Initiative’s] important Year Three accomplishments.”

The evaluation credited Measure H, the landmark ¼-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2017, with helping Los Angeles County avoid the much larger increases in homelessness reported by other Southern California counties last year.

Click here to read the entire evaluation.