Several hundred people gathered at USC's Galen Center April 24 for a symposium on homelessness sponsored by LAPD's Operations South Bureau. The event was chaired by South Bureau commander, Deputy Chief Robert Green. At the presiding table were the commanding officers for all four South Bureau police stations: captains Paul Snell for Southwest, Robert Arcos for 77th, Phillip Tingirides for Southeast, and Gerald Woodyard for Harbor. Also present was John Thomas, chief of USC's Department of Public Safety.
Grace Weltman, president of Communities in Motion, presented figures on Los Angeles homelessness and introduced two recently homeless men. In Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority's 2013 point-in-time count there were 53,978 homeless people in Los Angeles County. This was up from 45,422 in 2011, an 18.4% increase. More than half were in the city, 29,682 in 2013, up a shocking 26% from 2011.
There were no specific counts that correspond to the boundaries of the four South Bureau divisions, but it was plain that the homeless are not just in Downtown's Skid Row. The 2013 total for South Los Angeles was the highest for any of the LAHSA's 8 service areas, at 11,234. The runner-up, the L.A. metro area to the north, which includes Skid Row, ran to 10,470.
There was a breakdown by City Council District. Our Southwest Division includes about a third of CD 10, a quarter of CD8, and a sixth of CD9. CD10 had a total of 1,168 homeless last year; CD8 had 2,301, and CD9 had 2,564. A best guess would be that there are around 1,400 homeless people now in Southwest. Most of these are invisible. If you added up all the obvious homeless camps you probably would not find more than 100.