Their paths off the streets: LA veterans share their journeys to find homes

LOS ANGELES — One night in January 2020, 37,252 veterans were living on the street or in shelters across the country. About 10% of them lived in Los Angeles.

Whether more or fewer veterans became homeless during the past two years, the Department of Veterans Affairs still doesn’t know. The federal government typically organizes a “point-in-time” count of the country’s homeless population every January. The count was canceled in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it was delayed this year by several weeks.

The count took place in February, and the results — which should shed light on the pandemic’s effects on homelessness — are expected to be released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the fall.

The VA is keeping a close watch on numbers coming out of Los Angeles. The agency has set out to prove if it can end veteran homelessness in L.A., which has one of the tightest housing markets in the country and more homeless veterans than in any other city, it can be done anywhere.

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