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Where did homeless people die in Los Angeles in 2023?

City Council District 3 in San Fernando Valley had least deaths and District 14, including Skid Row, had most


Nine hundred homeless people died in Los Angeles last year, with nearly three-quarters of them perishing in streets, tents, parking lots, parks, RVs and vacant buildings, according to an analysis released by Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia’s office on Thursday, March 28.

While the number of unhoused people who died in 2023 dropped by about 22.9% from the year before — 1,167 died in 2022 — the controller’s office called any deaths “unacceptable.”

Mayor Karen Bass’ office said in a statement that it’s unacceptable for any Angeleno to lose their life on the streets.

“Every death that occurs is a tragedy and we express our condolences to those friends, family and community members who have lost a loved one due to this crisis,” she said. “The focus of our work has been to take urgent action to save lives, and while the Controller’s data released today indicates a decrease in deaths we know that there is still much more to be done.”

The mayor’s office noted that homeless encampments were cleared in each of the 15 City Council districts last year and that thousands more people found shelter through Inside Safe, the mayor’s signature homeless program, in 2023 — Bass’ first full year in office.

An interactive map showing where the 900 deaths occurred in 2023, along with the person’s age, gender, race and mode of death, can be viewed online at unhouseddeaths2023.lacontroller.app.

City Council District 14 logged the highest number of deaths, at 269. The district includes downtown L.A.’s Skid Row, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and Northeast L.A.

Council District 1, which borders District 14, had the second-highest number of deaths, at 105. District 1 spans parts of northeast and northwest Los Angeles and includes neighborhoods including Glassell Park, Mount Washington, Elysian Park, Westlake, Pico Union and MacArthur Park.

Districts 1 and 14, taken together, accounted for about 41.5% of such deaths in the city last year. These two districts also have some of the highest homeless populations. In addition, Skid Row and MacArthur Park are hotspots for fentanyl overdoses. Districts 1 and 14 also had the most number of deaths among the homeless population in 2022.

While those city council districts remained in the top two spots in 2023, both saw their numbers go down last year. In District 1, it dropped from 152 deaths to 105 – a 31% decrease. In District 14, it went from 323 deaths to 269 – an approximately 17% drop.

“The reduction in the number of people dying on our streets is positive, but 900 deaths remain an indelible mark of shame on our city,” City Councilmember Kevin de León, who represents District 14, said in a statement. “Living on the streets is a matter of life and death and precisely why my team and I are fighting like hell to build more interim housing and get people off the streets and connected to the services they need.”

Pete Brown, spokesperson for de León, said about 60% of the deaths in District 14 cited in the city controller’s report were drug-related and said that the crisis is more than a housing issue.

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, who represents District 1, also noted the link to substance abuse. She called the ongoing deaths “tragic” and said this is why she’s pushing for more street medicine teams and housing in which the residents receive wraparound services.

“At least 80% of the deaths in District 1 were ruled an accident, but when you dig into the data it is clear that the overwhelming majority of these people were impacted by the opioid crisis that is gripping Los Angeles and the country,” Hernandez said.

She added that many of the deaths occurred around MacArthur Park, a hotspot for the opioid epidemic. Hernandez noted that she recently proposed $3 million from the city’s opioid settlement fund to create a respite center and increase life-saving measures and services in MacArthur Park.

While Council Districts 1 and 14 had the most deaths among people living on the streets last year, on the opposite end of the spectrum was Council District 3, which saw the fewest number of deaths, at 20. This West Valley district includes Woodland Hills, Canoga Park, Winnetka and parts of Reseda.

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who represents District 3, said every death is tragic and underscores the need for all levels of government to work together.

“A few years ago in the West Valley we had zero beds available and practically no resources to help get unhoused people off the streets. … We’ve made progress but more must be done. The city is continuing to invest in mental health and substance use care, but we desperately need the county to deliver more services,” Blumenfield said in a statement.

Across the San Fernando Valley, deaths per council district ranged from a low of 20 in District 3 to a high of 46 deaths in District 6.

The 6th District spans central and eastern parts of the Valley including Arleta, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sun Valley and Van Nuys.

Thirteen of the 15 City Council districts saw fewer than 50 homeless deaths within their borders.

At least 73% of the deaths occurred in the streets or in tents, parking lots, parks, RVs and vacant buildings. The most common places where people died were on streets, freeways, tunnels or sidewalks, according to the city controller’s report.

Other findings by the controller’s office include:

  • 75% died by accident, the most common mode of death.

  • 40 unhoused people were murdered, accounting for 12% of all homicides in L.A. while they make up just about 1% of the city’s population.

  • Black people, who make up 8% of the city’s overall population yet represent 33% of its unhoused population, accounted for 31% of the deaths.

  • The 900 deaths in the city of L.A. represented 61% of all deaths of unhoused people in L.A. County last year.

The city controller’s office based its analysis on data from the L.A. County Medical-Examiner Coroner’s office.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s office announced Thursday that Bass had expanded one of her executive directives, first issued in February 2023, to use publicly-owned land to build housing faster and to address RV encampments by increasing the city’s ability to tow, store and dismantle surrendered vehicles. According to her office, more than 14,000 affordable housing units are being built faster due to her Executive Directive 3 to streamline development.


PUBLISHED: March 28, 2024 at 4:54 p.m. | UPDATED: March 28, 2024 at 5:29 p.m.


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