Los Angeles Releases Preliminary 2023 Homeless Deaths Count

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The city reports 900 deaths of homeless people in 2023, but some cases are still being investigated, the controller said.

Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia released preliminary results March 28 that revealed there were around 900 closed cases for homeless deaths in 2023, which is about 200 shy of the total number of homeless deaths the year prior, which was 1,167.

The number will be updated when all cases have been investigated.

Most of the deaths, approximately 75 percent, were accidental, according to data from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. The preliminary data also revealed 12 percent of those murdered last year in the city were homeless, despite the homeless making up just 1 percent of the city’s population. Forty deaths of homeless people were homicides, the data show.

Most of the deaths were in places without power, according to the new data, including tents, parking lots, vacant buildings, and RVs without properly functioning utilities.

About 31 percent of the homeless who died were black, on par with the percentage of homeless who are black, which is about 33 percent, according to the report. January, February, and March were the deadliest months.

The 900 reported deaths made up 61 percent of Los Angeles County’s 1,467 homeless deaths, for closed cases. About 20 percent of deaths were naturally occurring and nearly 2 percent were from suicide, or 16 deaths.

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In a statement the next day, a spokesperson for the controller’s office March 29 said the data they received from the coroner was believed to be for all homeless deaths in 2023, but was later found to be only for closed cases. Officials said a new analysis will be conducted and released with the new data.

“We will be updating our 2023 unhoused deaths analysis page accordingly, and we will be conducting a new analysis when we have complete data,” a spokesperson said.

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