Homelessness Down, Car Dwelling Up in Palisades

Number of people sleeping in cars has increased drastically in Pacific Palisades. 

By Sam Catanzaro

While homeless levels across Los Angeles County and the Westside have increased over the past few years, the number of individuals living on the streets of Pacific Palisades has decreased. As local lawmakers made dwelling in vehicles illegal last month, however, recently released data show that the number of individuals sleeping in their cars has increased drastically in Pacific Palisades. 

The 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, showed 36,300 people experiencing homelessness in the City of Los Angeles, a 16 percent rise from last year. In Council District 11, which includes Pacific Palisades, homelessness increased by 12 percent overall. 

According to data recently released by the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) and Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA), however,  the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Pacific Palisades decreased from 107 in 2018 to 83 in 2019. This is a sharp decline from the 198 individuals counted in 2016. 

“Since January 2016, PPTFH’s efforts have been successful in helping individuals receive services and move into some form of housing. The number of individuals and tents and makeshift shelters has gone down by 58% according to the LAHSA annual analysis and the number of individuals moving into housing has gone up,” said Sharon Browning PPTFH Vice President in a July newsletter. 

Despite the decrease in the overall number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Pacific Palisades, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people living in vehicles. LAHSA data shows that between 2016 and 2019 the number of campers, RVs and vans serving as a dwelling for homeless individuals has increased by 200 percent, from 13 to 29. For comparison, countywide the number of people living vehicles has increased by 51 percent. 

“The rate we are moving people into housing has slowed considerably and that we are working with more people who remain on the street.  The collective data makes sense given the dramatic increase in homeless individuals throughout the greater Los Angeles area.  The supply of housing for homeless individuals (temporary shelter and permanent supportive housing) is inadequate to meet the tremendous need,” Browning said. 

Surrounding the release of this data is action recently taken by LA City Council to reinstated Section 85.02 of LA Municipal Code which prohibits individuals from using a vehicle for dwelling between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on residential streets and any time within 500 feet of a park or a licensed school, pre-school or daycare facility (see, “LA City Council Reinstates Ban on Overnight Car Dwelling” Page 4). 

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