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Increase in women of color experiencing homelessness


An expanding demographic

The homelessness crisis in L.A. has increased at an exponential rate between the years 2015-2022, with numbers going from 13,544 to 20,724, a 53% percent increase. Los Angeles County has been the face of homelessness in the nation as it is one of the highest counties in homelessness ranking. Funds and programs aimed to lower homelessness this issue for the city, but the impact has been minimal because of overflow.  

One demographic frequently experiencing this hardship is women of color. The number of women experiencing homelessness as individuals also increased, reaching 14,403 in 2022, or 69% of all women experiencing homelessness in the county. 

According to a study done by, Among the 72% of women experiencing homelessness as individuals in Los Angeles are women of color, Latino and Black women comprise the majority (39% and 27%, respectively). Black women are  dramatically overrepresented. The share of women experiencing homelessness as individuals who are Black is three times this demographic’s share of the county population (27% versus 7.9%).

Some of the issues causing the high rate of homelessness for Black women include: gender-based violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, human trafficking, and sexual assault. Systematic racism plays a part in things as many black people experienced housing discrimination, redlining, high eviction rates, and racial and gender-based wealth gaps. Women of color face racial and ethnic disparities in poverty rates, educational attainment, housing discrimination, access to health care, and incarceration.

"Racism and sexism and homelessness is a big issue. You’re in a category that no one wants, you’re treated without any humanity,” according to the 2024 study “Women Homelessness in Los Angeles.”

Women also experience homelessness at a higher rate than men. On average, they endure homelessness ranging from two and a half to three and a half years. On average, these episodes spanned 1,285.5 days (about three years and six months) for Hispanic and Latina women and 1,079.5 days (about three years) for Black women. A problem for them is finding a stable and safe location to rest during the day or night, most utilizing parks, cars, vans, and public transportation. "What I have done and what other women I know have done, to stay safe on these streets, you have to sleep at a park where kids play with parents and stay up all night." Women experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.

All homeless people want housing security, to feel safe, and to have privacy back in their lives. Among all women, the most common barrier to accessing and using shelter was safety concerns at 53.6%.