Study of Unhoused Veterans in Los Angeles Suggests Services Need to Be Tailored to Meet Population Needs and Preferences
Nov 11, 2021
Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles is a pervasive public health and social problem. In this report, the authors describe a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study conducted in 2019/2020 that followed 26 veterans experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. The authors use the information provided by veterans about their housing, health, and service experiences to identify factors related to engaging in care and attaining stable housing.
Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles (LA), California, is a pervasive public health problem, with the county having the highest concentration of veterans experiencing homelessness (VEH) in the United States. Despite significant investments and many programs and services available to VEH, eliminating homelessness has proven to be a major public policy challenge.
In this report, the authors describe a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study conducted in 2019/2020 that followed 26 VEH in West LA. The information obtained about the veterans' housing, health, and service experiences can be used by policymakers and public health practitioners to identify specific factors that are related to engagement in care and housing attainment and stability.
The COVID-19 pandemic began during the study, and the research team had to adapt to remote data collection protocols to complete the follow-up data collection. As a result, important lessons about the feasibility of remote data collection with VEH both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic were learned.
The authors make a number of recommendations, including allocating more resources to fully meet the needs of VEH in LA (including more-robust outreach services, substance use disorder treatment, and other health care treatment), implementing additional temporary and permanent housing solutions, and building in accountability measures to make progress toward these goals more transparent to a larger audience.
This report should be of interest to entities serving populations that experience homelessness, including governments, health care organizations, practitioners, advocacy groups, researchers, and others interested in addressing the homelessness crisis.
Veteran Homelessness in Los Angeles
Characteristics of the Sample
Health and Well-Being
Use of Supportive Services
Ecological Momentary Assessment Pilot Study
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Individual Case Summaries
Services for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness