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Nearly 1,500 unhoused people died on the streets of Los Angeles during the pandemic, according to a new report

california homelessness los angeles
Echo Park Lake Thursday, March 25, 2021 in los Angeles, CA.
Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

  • There are approximately 40,000 unhoused people in the city of Los Angeles. 
  • A new report found that 1,493 unhoused people died on city streets.
  • An organizer and co-author of the report called it "a failure of the state." 

An estimated 1,493 unhoused people died on the streets of Los Angeles according to a new report detailing how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the city's homeless.

Published on December 1 by the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, the report was compiled from data on "sudden, violent, or unusual" deaths between March 2020 to July 2021.

"When people are passing away outdoors and on the sidewalks, that is a failure of the state," Chloe Rosenstock, co-author of the report and an organizer with Street Watch LA, told The Guardian, which first reported the findings.

The data found that 542 (or 35%) of the total recorded deaths were on sidewalks. Of the next top nine locations of death, 197 were in parking lots, 85 in alleys, 84 in tents, 75 in parks, 54 in embankments, 46 on or near railroad tracks, 45 in walkways, 41 in trailers, and 34 in transient encampments.

The average age of death was 47 and the most common cause was an accidental overdose. 

At least 418 people also died in hotel or motel rooms during the pandemic, which the report says must also be factored into consideration because of an initiative that started in April 2020 called Project Roomkey, which aimed to provide hotel and motel rooms for unhoused Angelenos before moving them into permanent housing. 

According to CBS2, while the goal was to get 15,000 participants, only about 9,118 participated. 2,474 were put into permanent housing. Roughly 10% chose to return to the streets.

The Los Angeles city homeless population is estimated to be as large as 40,000 people. 

Recently, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city council approved an ordinance that bans homeless encampments in some areas — further displacing already unhoused Angelenos. 

The Los Angeles Mayor and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

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