Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — The number of people experiencing homelessness on the streets in Hollywood and East Hollywood was down 12% compared to 2020, according to figures released April 14.
The count conducted by volunteers organized by the Hollywood 4WRD coalition in February found there were 1,513 unhoused people in Hollywood and East Hollywood’s 40 tracts, while the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority counted 1,714 people in the area in January 2020.
Hollywood 4WRD found that the number of people in tents and vehicles was roughly the same, while the number of people living “completely exposed” decreased by 30%.
However, the count found that 28% of census tracts in Hollywood, including those south of the Walk of Fame and Barnsdall Park, had a drastic increase in the number of tents and makeshift structures on the streets.
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority announced in December that following guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, “there is no safe way to gather the 8,000 volunteers necessary to conduct the 2021 (point-in-time) count and collect data as accurately as it has done in previous years.”
Hollywood 4WRD, the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council and the Center in Hollywood announced in February they would conduct their own count.
“It’s the right thing to do. We want to continue to make progress towards ending homelessness,” said Heather Carmichael, a board member of Hollywood 4WRD and executive director of My Friend’s Place, a resource center annually providing services to nearly 1,400 homeless youth and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25, and their children.
“Hollywood is unique in that we have a robust coalition of service providers, business leaders, residents and government agencies dedicated to humanely housing everyone in the community. And we work well together. So we were able to do the count safely and efficiently.”
Hollywood 4WRD said it expects the decrease may have resulted from more shelter and housing options during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Project Roomkey, as well as other options that became available in 2020 like Safe Parking, A Bridge Home and 120 permanent supportive housing units that were created in the area.
“Visually, it looks like there are more people on the street. But anecdotal impressions are not always right and so we have to trust the data,” said Steve Fiechter, board member of Hollywood 4WRD and senior director at People Assisting The Homeless.
“This survey shows that interventions can help those struggling with housing insecurity. As we begin to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, we must not lose our focus on providing the services and resources that work.”
However, Hollywood 4WRD also noted there was an increase in the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County dying in 2020.
“While the numbers may be down, people’s conditions are worsening which is visibly evident,” said volunteer and Hollywood resident Helen Eigenberg.
“Members of Hollywood 4WRD will continue to advocate to bring more solutions and resources to end homelessness, faster. We welcome the support of the community to amplify our voice and the voice of our unhoused neighbors.”
Louis Abramson, a member of the Hollywood 4WRD board and Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council, led the count’s data collection and analyses.
He said he hopes the data will keep residents, funders and legislators informed on the homelessness crisis and what steps help.
“We are grateful to all the volunteers who counted, and the USC/UCLA Homeless Count Methodology Team who reviewed our work to ensure the results were accurate,” Abramson said.