OctoStudy Sociology
Print Сite this

Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles


Despite the recent communal efforts and governmental policies that provide accessible housing and assist low-income families, the problem of homelessness is still highly relevant in the USA. The issue is particularly noticeable in California, accounting for more than 25% of the total amount of homeless people (State of Homelessness par. 14). The chosen community for the paper is the whole area of South Central Los Angeles. The selected region shares similar characteristics with the rest of the state, including the prevailing number of homeless people that require shelter and assistance. Homelessness is a critical issue that should be addressed to improve the overall quality of life in the community. Therefore, the current paper proposes a community project with the objective to assist homeless people in South Central Los Angeles.

Background Information and Statistics

Before proposing a community project, it is essential to evaluate the extent of the problem comprehensively. Homelessness is a severe problem that is prominent in all states of the country, with the largest concentrations in New York and California (State of Homelessness par. 2). Unfortunately, due to the pandemic restrictions, the annual homeless count for 2021 was canceled. Nevertheless, it is possible to assess the information from the previous years. For instance, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) established that approximately 80 000 people had lost their homes in 2019 in LA (LAHSA par. 10). At the same time, around 73 000 people were able to find permanent housing due to both personal resolve and federal support systems (LAHSA par. 10). In other words, it means that approximately 207 people are able to get out of homelessness, while 227 lose their homes every day (LAHSA par. 10). While the numbers do not seem drastic at first, the increasing tendency implies the ongoing growth of the homeless population.

Compared to other states, the prevalence of the homeless population is highly noticeable in California. As mentioned briefly before, California accounts for more than 25% of the total amount of homeless people, and approximately 40% reside in LA (State of Homelessness par. 14). Despite being the largest concentration of homeless people, emergency shelters provide around 30 000 beds, while New York housing accommodates more than 80 000 people (State of Homelessness par. 39). The situation is further complicated by the pandemic restrictions, and LA is the hotbed of the infected homeless people (State of Homelessness par. 30). The total amount of predicted infections reaches 28 000 people among homeless people, which is about five times higher than in any other major city (State of Homelessness par. 30). Ultimately, the statistics transparently demonstrate the urgent need to increase the number of housing services and implement supporting policies.

Existing Policies and Challenges

There are several federal policies and communal volunteer actions that combat the issue of homelessness. The former generally concerns the housing services provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (Federal Funding par. 3). The federal organization provides grants to communities and particular shelters to increase the number of potential accommodations for the homeless (Federal Funding par. 4). For instance, HUD has received a grant of $2.7 billion that has been distributed to various communities in order to combat the problem (Federal Funding par. 5). The communal volunteer actions concern housing expansion as well; however, volunteers also participate in lectures, develop coordinated networks, and manage the communication between the homeless and shelters (Creating Systems that Work par. 2). Due to the united efforts, homelessness has decreased by approximately 15% since 2007 (Federal Funding par. 1). The results transparently demonstrate that federal and communal policies have been highly impactful in attempts to resolve homelessness.

Nevertheless, there is a large number of potential challenges that obstruct the proper development in the field. The most evident barrier is the absence of affordable housing and drastic differences in income varying from family to family (Wusinich et al. 1). However, there is a wide range of challenges even for the homeless that participate in federal policies and volunteer programs. One of them is the need for proper documentation, and it is a highly relevant problem since a significant number of homeless people have lost their identification papers (Wusinich et al. 4). Furthermore, research demonstrates that a large number of shelters are not properly equipped to meet the requirements of people with disabilities (Wusinich et al. 4). The complications include the absence of wheelchair accessibility and lack of dedicated medications (Wusinich et al. 4). Moreover, a large number of homeless people report negative perceptions of shelters and to prefer to live on the street or search for their own accommodation (Wusinich et al. 5). Lastly, some citizens perceive homeless people as drug addicts and violent persons, which leads to stereotypes and prejudice.

Community Project

The current community project implies close interaction with the existing communal efforts to resolve homelessness in South Central Los Angeles. The fundamental purpose of the project is to establish proper communication between homeless people and students that would potentially eliminate stereotypes and prejudice. As mentioned before, the homeless frequently experience unjustified discrimination on the assumption that they are violent criminals that deserve poverty. For instance, Copeland et al. have surveyed more than a hundred medical students and found out that the majority had an inherent bias toward the homeless (5). However, after the service-learning experience, the students have noted a shift in their perception for the better (Copeland et al. 5). After working directly with the homeless, future nurses and physicians have noticed that most people who lost their homes are harmless, vulnerable, and need assistance (Copeland et al. 6). While there might be some criminals among the homeless people, the majority have been forced to live on the street and require urgent help from society.

Therefore, the project aims to establish a means of communication between homeless people and society and demonstrate the necessity of the humanistic approach. To achieve these objectives, the project implements the community-based learning model. In general, this method refers to the specific learning experience in the selected set with the purpose of transforming the community (Southworth and Brallier 2). The target group of the project is young people aged 14 to 25 years old. Since most people in this age range are students in schools, colleges, and universities, lectures and workshops could be highly efficient in the chosen framework. Furthermore, the collaboration of educational institutions with community centers might significantly strengthen the relationships between the organizations and promote future cooperation. Moreover, even if the efforts are insignificant in terms of practical value, psychological assistance and words of support might greatly improve the mental health of homeless people and help sustain healthy relationships.

If the project finds considerable support, it is possible to establish a connection between the community centers of the area and Los Angeles Southwest College. In such a case, guest speakers from prominent LA shelter centers, such as The Midnight Mission or Angel’s Flight for Runaway and Homeless Youth, could deliver a lecture in the college. On the other hand, students can volunteer in the mentioned centers or other community shelters to assist the homeless people and get a better understanding of life on the street. Community-based learning also implies the freedom of choice of how to help homeless people. For instance, within the college project at Portland Community College, the students were able to build two houses for the homeless (Pope 14). Therefore, community-based learning provides excellent versatility and offers a large number of choices of how to assist the homeless. Ultimately, the advantages of this approach are the following: students get a better understanding of life on the street, the homeless receive assistance, and the relationship between the organizations is strengthened due to collaboration.


The current paper has thoroughly examined the issue of homelessness in South Central Los Angeles and proposed a community project to assist homeless people. The current state of homelessness in the region is highly disturbing with more than 80 000 people have lost their homes in 2019. Despite the communal and federal efforts to provide affordable housing, South Central Los Angeles remains one of the most notorious concentrations of homeless people in the state. The proposed community project attempts to increase awareness concerning the problem, promote communication between volunteer centers and homeless people, and eliminate existing stereotypes. In the future, it is possible to establish a connection between Los Angeles Southwest College and surrounding community centers due to the united efforts in the campaign against homelessness.

Works Cited

Copeland, Donna, et al. “Effects of a Service-Learning Experience on Health-Related Students’ Attitudes Toward the Homeless.” Nursing Forum, vol. 56, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1-7.

“Creating Systems that Work.” National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2020, Web.

“Federal Funding for Homelessness Programs.” National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2020, Web.

LAHSA. “2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count Results.” Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Web.

Pope, Linda. “Community-based Learning: An Amazing Tool Used by College Students to Build Tiny Houses for the Homeless.” Journal of Sustainability Education, vol. 18, 2018, p. 1-20.

Southworth, Stephanie, and Sara Brallier. “Using Community-Based Learning to Advance Student Understanding of the Homeless.” College Teaching, 2020, pp. 1-9.

“State of Homelessness: 2020 Edition.” National Alliance to End Homelessness, Web.

Wusinich, Christina, et al. “‘If You’re Gonna Help Me, Help Me’: Barriers to Housing among Unsheltered Homeless Adults.” Evaluation and Program Planning, vol. 76, 2019, pp. 1-7.

Cite this paper
Select style


OctoStudy. (2023, February 9). Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles. Retrieved from https://octostudy.com/homelessness-in-south-central-los-angeles/


OctoStudy. (2023, February 9). Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles. https://octostudy.com/homelessness-in-south-central-los-angeles/

Work Cited

"Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles." OctoStudy, 9 Feb. 2023, octostudy.com/homelessness-in-south-central-los-angeles/.

1. OctoStudy. "Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles." February 9, 2023. https://octostudy.com/homelessness-in-south-central-los-angeles/.


OctoStudy. "Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles." February 9, 2023. https://octostudy.com/homelessness-in-south-central-los-angeles/.


OctoStudy. 2023. "Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles." February 9, 2023. https://octostudy.com/homelessness-in-south-central-los-angeles/.


OctoStudy. (2023) 'Homelessness in South Central Los Angeles'. 9 February.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on OctoStudy, request the removal.