2024 Homeless Count shows promising results for Santa Monica and the region

June 28, 2024 1:17 PM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 28, 2024) – The west side of Los Angeles County, which includes Santa Monica, saw a nearly 20 percent decrease in the total population of people experiencing homelessness, according to numbers released Friday by the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority, or LAHSA.

LAHSA’s annual Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found that the number of people experiencing homelessness in Service Planning Area 5 — Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Culver City, Ladera, Malibu, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Palms, Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, Venice, West LA, Westchester, and Westwood — was 5,383 in 2024, down from 6,669 in 2023.

In Santa Monica, the count showed 774 people experiencing homelessness, a 6 percent decrease from the 826 reported by LAHSA in 2023.

The data provided at the city level reflects the actual number of people, along with what LAHSA calls “improvised dwellings” (cars, RVs, tents, etc.), counted by volunteers on the night of the count in January. The number also includes data collected by special LAHSA outreach teams that canvass hard-to-reach or dangerous areas, such as Caltrans embankments in the city.

The count allots one person in each improvised dwelling counted.

LAHSA breaks down Santa Monica’s count as follows: 

“Homelessness is a complex local, regional, state and national issue that affects our city on a daily basis,” Santa Monica Housing and Human Services Director Heather Averick said. “The reduction in people recorded in the county’s 2024 point in time count is promising and reflects the impacts of our strategic efforts to address homelessness. At the same time, we know our work is not done and we acknowledge the real impacts of homelessness being felt across our community. We continue to work across all city departments and with our external partners to prioritize permanent solutions to this crisis.”

Regional Context for a Regional Solution

This marks the first year that Santa Monica’s count has been managed by LAHSA. The city transitioned from a city-run count last year as part of a strategic push to leverage regional resources to assist the city in addressing homelessness.

In past years, the numbers recorded in Santa Monica’s local count have sometimes differed from the numbers released by LAHSA. Results from the 2023 city-organized count showed 926 people experiencing homelessness in Santa Monica — 786 individuals and 140 improvised dwellings.

LAHSA uses the same methodology across the region, in consultation with statistical experts from the University of Southern California and with guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. With LAHSA conducting the annual point in time count, the city will have a like-to-like comparison of the numbers, giving a more complete picture of the totality of homelessness in Santa Monica, the westside region and the county as a whole.

Overall, the county’s count remained relatively stable, with a significant increase in the amount of people in shelters and a decrease in those living outdoors.

“This year’s Homeless Count shows that we are finally moving in the right direction. Our coordinated emergency response to end our homelessness crisis is beginning to show improvement,” said Lindsey Horvath, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the LAHSA Commission. “These results are validation, not victory. We must continue to move with urgency across all levels of government and in every community in Los Angeles County to bring our unhoused neighbors inside.”

Government agencies, including LAHSA, use the data collected during the Homeless Count to develop strategies to address homelessness and determine where funding and resources will have the most impact.

For Santa Monica, the numbers are one way the city gauges the impacts of local programs to address homelessness and advocates for resources on a regional level.

Santa Monica’s Efforts

The city continues to push forward and expand its strategic, robust and innovative portfolio of programs and initiatives to address and prevent homelessness. This includes:

For more information about Santa Monica’s efforts on addressing homelessness, click here. For more information on the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, visit lahsa.org.

Media Contact

Lauren Howland
Communications and public information manager


Housing, Programs


Housing and Human Services