LOS ANGELES — The Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University just released its 2023 Angeleno Poll. The data shows more residents feel that the tide is changing when it comes to effectively addressing the homelessness crisis in LA.
One question asked to over 2,000 respondents: “How do you think the homelessness crisis will change over the next year?”
For the first time in years, the results show signs of optimism.
What You Need To Know
- Margaret Gillespie is one of the outreach workers working with boots on the ground to address the issue
- She knows everyone in the tents and RVs living along Cotner Avenue by name, going there weekly with West Los Angeles Homeless
- Their organization meets the immediate and long-term needs of the growing number of people living here
- When asking over 2,000 LA County and city residents how they thought the homelessness crisis would change over the next year, researchers were pleasantly surprised by a glimpse of optimism they hadn’t seen in years
Margaret Gillespie is one of the outreach workers working with boots on the ground to address the issue. She knows everyone in the tents and RVs living along Cotner Avenue by name, going there weekly with West Los Angeles Homeless. Their organization meets the immediate and long-term needs of the growing number of people living here.
“The issue is definitely growing,” Gillespie said. “COVID certainly had an impact on that. A lot of folks who were razors edge away from homelessness, losing their jobs, pushed them over the edge.”
It’s what happened to Junior and his wife, Whitney, who have been living in an RV for about a year.
He said he was working a steady job in plumbing when he was laid off during the pandemic. He and Whitney quickly found themselves sinking and with no way to pay rent, they moved from their apartment to the sidewalk, into a tent on Wilshire, before landing in the RV where at least, Junior says, they have a roof over their head.
“We’ve been on the list for two years for help with housing,” Junior explained. “My wife and I both have a bit of a mental disorder as well as physical disabilities that keep us from being able to work regular jobs.”
He calls it a journey, one that he soon hopes to share on a podcast he’s working to create, called “In Tents,” to help break the stigma often associated with people living on the streets. Junior said he plans to bridge the communication gap by telling the stories of those who find themselves knee deep in the crisis.
In a way, it’s what Brianne Gilbert does, too, at Loyola Marymount University’s Center for the Study of Los Angeles. Only her stories are told by analyzing the numbers.
Gilbert shows the new study just released by LMU that indicates how Angelenos are feeling about housing and homelessness in Los Angeles.
“Although the majority 53% say that it’s going to get worse, or that’s their prediction, that number is actually less and notably less than it was last year," said Gilbert, adding that it’s one of the key points.
When asking more than 2,000 LA County and city residents how they thought the homelessness crisis would change over the next year, researchers were pleasantly surprised by a glimpse of optimism they hadn’t seen in years.
“We’re not skyrocketing, but at least things are started to head in the right direction, as far as the data goes,” Gilbert said.
It’s good to see the glimmer of hope in this area and overall, she says. Junior said he finally feels that way too, thanks to Gillespie and her organization.
“Let’s not forget, this is the city level, the county level and the state level that all need to coordinate and we’re definitely seeing much more of that,” Gillespie said.