Poverty Lab Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County

Access the report here.

Access the press release here.

Los Angeles County has the largest concentration of individuals experiencing homelessness anywhere in the nation, with more than 50,000 people living on the street or in shelters. Just as importantly, Los Angeles is facing conditions that put tens of thousands more individuals at risk of homelessness, with housing needs that far exceed the available supply for low-income households.

Rigorous research has shown that targeted emergency financial assistance and timely intervention can be effective at preventing homelessness before it starts. In light of this, the Poverty Lab is partnering with the Los Angeles County Homelessness Initiative and the California Policy Lab (CPL) to use predictive modeling to identify individuals at highest risk of becoming homeless and better target prevention efforts.

Using linked data from seven Los Angeles County agencies, the California Policy Lab and the University of Chicago Poverty Lab designed predictive models to help identify those County clients at the highest risk of experiencing homelessness in the next 12 months. Our models identify people who are 27 times more likely to become homeless than the average County client, and 48 times more likely to experience homelessness for the first time.

In 2020, Los Angeles County will launch a multi-disciplinary Homeless Prevention Unit that will proactively conduct outreach to clients at highest risk of homelessness and problem solve around each individual’s needs. These teams will include staff from the Department of Mental Health, Department of Health Services, Department of Social Services, and the criminal justice system. The Poverty Lab and California Policy Lab will rigorously evaluate these efforts and help grow the evidence base on what works in preventing homelessness – including among those who may not self-identify as being at-risk.

Predicting and Preventing Homelessness in Los Angeles