The Los Angeles homeless count has become an annual civic drama, starting with thousands of volunteers spreading across the county on three nights in January and ending five months later with the unveiling of the new number: 52,765 this year.
The practice has been criticized for its implied precision — as if it were possible to count a diffuse and reclusive population down to the last individual. But the effort has also faced criticism for leaving out important information, such as how many people become homeless during the year and how long they remain on the street.
To fill in those gaps, the Economic Roundtable examined data collected by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority in 2017.
After months of analysis, the group came up with a new statistical approach that yields a very different number: 102,278 — reflecting the number of people who become homeless at one time or another during the year.
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