Recent Trends Among the Unsheltered in Los Angeles

Findings from 2023 Data Collection

Tents in Los Angeles, with buildings in the background, photo by Rick Garvey and April Motola-Burgomaster/RAND

Photo by Rick Garvey and April Motola-Burgomaster/RAND

Event Details


Wednesday, Jul 17, 2024


Noon to 1 p.m. PDT / 3 to 4 p.m. EDT



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Homelessness is a key policy concern in Los Angeles. However, there is a lack of accurate data about the dynamics and characteristics of the unsheltered population.

To better inform the development of effective policy to address homelessness, RAND continued its study of the number of people living unsheltered in Hollywood, Skid Row, and Venice, which started in the fall of 2021. RAND also collected survey data from people living unsheltered in these neighborhoods to provide information about individual housing needs, experiences, and preferences.

In this virtual conversation, RAND experts Jason Ward, Rick Garvey, and Sarah Hunter will discuss findings from their latest report that includes results from the fall of 2021 through December 2023.


Jason Ward

Jason M. Ward

Co-Director, RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness; Economist, RAND

Jason Ward is a RAND economist, co-director of the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His work uses the tools of applied microeconomics to study housing and homelessness policy, labor markets, education, health, and links between these domains. His research in the areas of housing and homelessness has focused on the adaptive reuse of commercial real estate as housing in Los Angeles, the effects of restrictive labor agreements on the production of affordable housing, and housing policy reforms in New York City.

Ward’s current projects include research on transition-aged youth experiencing housing instability and homelessness with a focus on foster youth, a study on the effective utilization of the Housing Choice Voucher program, a comparative study of multifamily housing production costs in three states, and a study of the effects of Los Angeles’s Measure ULA on multifamily housing production.

Rick Garvey

Rick Garvey

Senior Survey Coordinator, RAND

Rick Garvey is a senior survey coordinator at RAND with 25 years of data collection experience. At RAND, he has been involved in planning and coordinating both small- and large-scale data collection projects in areas of HIV and hepatitis, homelessness, veterans’ health, criminal justice, adolescent drug use, drug treatment, welfare reform, and surviving trauma. His expertise lies in design and implementation of complex field data collection efforts.

Garvey has worked closely with homeless, mental health, juvenile justice, and social service agencies to establish cooperation and negotiate data collection in such settings. Since joining RAND in 2000, he has worked closely with homeless, mental health, criminal justice, and social service agencies to establish cooperation and negotiate data collection in underserved areas, jails, shelters, and homeless encampments. He has managed data collection for dozens of projects with diverse, and difficult to reach populations throughout Los Angeles County and the State of California.

Currently Garvey is managing the UNITY project, a longitudinal study of unhoused Transitional Aged Youth in Los Angeles county with eleven follow-up waves of data collection; two projects working with patients suffering from Opioid Use Disorder; and the LA LEADS project conducting surveys and enumeration of encampments in Skid-Row, Hollywood, and Venice.

Sarah Hunter

Sarah B. Hunter

Director, RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness; Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist, RAND

Sarah Hunter (she/her) is a senior behavioral scientist, professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and co-director of the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness (CHH). Over a decade ago, Hunter started working in the field of supportive housing. Since that time, she has led numerous studies documenting the impact of supportive housing on service use and associated costs, including initiatives in Los Angeles County (i.e., Housing for Health and Just in Reach Pay for Success) and beyond.

Hunter has also studied programs that provide rapid-re-housing and employment supports for people involved in the justice system. She recently co-led a longitudinal study of veterans experiencing homelessness in West Los Angeles to better understand service utilization and barriers to housing stability.

Hunter currently helps direct several of the center projects, including research to better understand the needs and preferences of transitional aged youth and unsheltered adults experiencing homelessness.


Louis Abramson

Louis Abramson

Policy Analyst, RAND

Louis Abramson is a policy analyst at RAND and community organizer in Los Angeles. A trained astrophysicist, Abramson has led award-winning research into the evolution of galaxies as well as LA Times-recognized initiatives to count unhoused Angelenos.

Abramson serves on the boards of the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition and Hollywood 4WRD—nonprofits committed to ending homelessness in LA—and formally served as a member of LA City Government as an elected representative on the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council. His experience supporting vulnerable Angelenos catalyzed his State Assembly candidacy in 2022 to represent central LA and the cities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood.

Abramson earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Register for This Program

Please register online to attend. Contact Tiffany Hruby with questions about the event.