Inner City Law Center Responds to Dramatic Spike in Los Angeles Homeless Count Numbers

LAHSA’s Annual Homeless Count numbers reveal a shocking double-digit uptick.  


Los Angeles, CA (July 24th, 2023) 75,518 — that’s the number of people who are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s latest annual homeless count. Not only did this year’s numbers rise by 9% in the county of Los Angeles and 10% in the city of Los Angeles, but these numbers have risen by an alarming 80% over the last eight years, according to reporting from the Los Angeles Times.  

Inner City Law Center is on the front lines of the fight, providing vital legal services right in the heart of the epidemic from our headquarters in Skid Row. There is an increasing awareness of just how important legal services are in preventing and ending homelessness, with the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voting unanimously last week to move forward with a right to counsel for renters in Los Angeles. 

The fact is, it is both far more humane and more cost effective to prevent people from becoming homelessness than it is to help lift someone out of it after they have become homeless. Just how much more cost effective? About $25,000 per person, per year. 

Without an emphasis on prevention, the money Californians commit to solving homelessness will continue to come up short and the number of people living on our streets will continue to rise.  

LAHSA’s homeless count numbers clearly show that the current strategies for addressing homelessness are insufficient, and the deeper one dives into LAHSA’s data, the more concerning the situation becomes. 


For instance, this year’s increase in homelessness was made up entirely of people living on the street (as opposed to those in shelters), and the number of homeless veterans (3,878) rose by an alarming 11% over the past year.  

This is why Inner City Law Center is expanding our work with homeless veterans, proudly handling hundreds of cases for unhoused veterans and recovering $3.9 million in retroactive awards and annual benefits for our veteran clients last year. Not only do these monetary awards change the lives of our clients, but securing their benefits gives these veterans a lifelong source of income to secure stable housing for the rest of their lives. 

Ongoing Racism 

Systemic racism also continues to shape the color of homelessness; Black Angelenos make up more than 31% of people experiencing homelessness in the county, even though they only account for 9% of the overall county population.   

Inner City Law Center is well aware of the deep-rooted and pervasive challenges systemic racism presents for people seeking equitable housing, and strongly feels that lip service to diversity and equity is not enough. The journey to more equitable housing must be purposeful and intentional, which is why Inner City Law Center places a strong focus on prioritizing delivery of service to those most likely to become homeless. Last year, 81% of ICLC’s clients were People of Color, including 31% who were Black Angelenos.  This year, ICLC was honored to be one of only ten law firms in the state of California to receive a Gold Seal for DEI leadership from the California State Bar.  

Transition Aged Youth 

Perhaps the most shocking increase in this year’s homeless count report is the dramatic 25% increase in transition aged youth (youth aged 18-24) who are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.  

The correlation between youth in the child welfare system and those who will go on to experience homelessness as young adults is well established— it is estimated that more than 50% of people experiencing homelessness have spent time in the child welfare system, and 25% of youth who age out of the system will be homeless before the age of 21. Furthermore, the longer a child spends in the child welfare system, the more likely they are to have adverse experiences, including housing instability.   

To combat these systemic causes of homelessness at the root, Inner City Law Center has launched our new Bringing Families Home Program. The program partners with the County of Los Angeles to provide holistic legal services to families who have children in the child welfare system and who are also experiencing or at risk of homelessness with children. We help our clients tackle barriers to finding and keeping stable housing so their families can be reunited and minimize the time their children spend in the child welfare system. 


About Inner City Law Center 

Inner City Law Center is a nonprofit, poverty-law firm located in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles and working to end the homelessness crisis by providing free legal services to the most vulnerable residents of Los Angeles.  

Inner City Law Center’s staff of more than 130 (including 65 lawyers), together with hundreds of volunteers, fight for people facing eviction, struggling with landlord harassment, fighting to secure their veteran or disability benefits, or standing up to slum housing conditions.  

Contact: Jacqueline Burbank
Communications Manager
P: (323) 208-1505