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All Alone: Antecedents of Chronic Homelessness

August 24, 2015 / By Daniel Flaming


New Report Finds Insufficient Help for Children and Young Adults at Risk of Homelessness

LOS ANGELES, CA — A new report by the Economic Roundtable, a public benefit research organization, found that 942,000 Los Angeles County public assistance recipients experienced homeless over nine years. Most people, the report says, quickly exited homelessness with the help of family and friends or by finding a job. But the growth of chronic homelessness shows that not enough people are finding an exit.

Chronic homelessness continues to grow in L.A., even after housing 10,000 homeless individuals over the past three years. The Roundtable analysis found that 13,000 public assistance recipients are newly identified as homeless each month. Because not enough escape homelessness, the number who become chronically homeless is creating a level of demand that overwhelms the supply of affordable housing.

The report, All Alone, estimates that 42% of people who experience homelessness do not receive the help that they need to become stably housed. Needed help includes employment, health and behavioral health services, case management, disability benefits, and affordable housing.

Half of all homeless public assistance recipients are children. Disabilities among these children are under-reported by 90 percent. Disabilities are associated with higher rates of homelessness and chronic homelessness. The report concludes that it is crucial to provide timely help for children and young adults who’ve been homeless in order to reduce the feeder pipeline from childhood poverty and homelessness into adult chronic homelessness.

“Ending chronic homelessness will be feasible if fewer people become homeless” said report author, Daniel Flaming. “This requires the combined resources of health, mental health, social service, education, justice system, and housing agencies to restore a place in the community for homeless individuals.”

Because public assistance programs touch most people experiencing homelessness and at risk of homelessness, the report recommends that they be given the role of flagging tripwire events. These events include homelessness, children not attending school regularly, long-term unemployment of parents, and domestic violence. When any of these events occur, families should be immediately connected with agencies that will provide services to help them resolve their crises.

An electronic file of All Alone, embargoed until August 25, will be emailed upon request.

The Economic Roundtable, founded in 1983, is a public benefit urban research organization based in Los Angeles, California that investigates economic, social, and environmental problems. Visit us at

Contact: Daniel Flaming
(213) 892-8104 x 204