October 25, 2022 - Santa Monica, CA - A survey of unhoused people released by the A-Mark Foundation found that 84 percent of respondents named housing as one of their top three priorities and 92 percent named it in their top five priorities. This mirrored results from a recent RAND study showing that 80 percent of respondents said they would accept shelter or housing, and 90 percent expressed interest in receiving housing.
The homeless population in Los Angeles nearly doubled from 2012 to 2022, growing from 35,296 to 69,144, according to counts by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Government officials, service providers, activists, academics, and homeowners constantly explain what the unhoused people living in Los Angeles County need, but surveys asking the people actually experiencing homelessness what they think should be done are rare.
In early 2022, A-Mark teamed up with UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Policy to send student researchers to L.A.’s Skid Row neighborhood to ask the unhoused men and women living there what they would do about homelessness if they were mayor. Representatives of the Skid Row Brigade, a service group long active in the community, assisted with the study.
The majority of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles said housing, both temporary and permanent, should be the first priority for the LA mayor (62%), followed by resources for education, employment, and social workers (10%), healthcare (10%), necessities such as food, water, and clothing (6%), and sanitation/safety (2%). Nine percent listed more ambiguous policies, such as improving government responses and listening to the people living on the streets.
Homelessness has been a key issue in the race between Los Angeles mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso ahead of the election on November 8, 2022. Learning what solutions the people experiencing homelessness actually want may help voters weigh the potential effectiveness of each candidate’s plan to address the crisis.
Rob Eshman, CEO of the A-Mark Foundation, wrote an article about the survey results for Zócalo Public Square. “We were interested to see that a study from RAND found similar results to ours,” Eshman said. “The fact that housing is rated so highly in both studies should prod policy makers and activists toward immediate, even if only temporary, housing solutions.”
A-Mark also released a new quiz challenging Californians to see how much they know about homelessness in the state.
Read the full survey results: https://amarkfoundation.org/survey-of-100-people-experiencing-homelessness-in-los-angeles/