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Nithya Raman, Kevin De León got more homeless people off the street. Will that sway voters?

Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Raman, who chairs the council's homelessness committee, said the work by her team shows that the city "can actually address street homelessness, which is what most Angelenos are concerned about, far more effectively than we have been in the past."

Former Councilmember Mike Bonin said that many council offices have outreach teams but Raman's staff acts as "housing navigators."

"She has folks who are out there who are building relationships over time and figuring out what sort of housing people need," Bonin said.

The 7% drop in the unsheltered homeless population in Raman's district was in 2022, compared with 2020. (LAHSA didn't conduct a count in 2021 because of COVID-19). At the same time, the sheltered population more than doubled during that period.

Raman's office credits the increase in sheltered population to more beds being offered by her district. Those in shelter, such as motel rooms, are still considered homeless by the city.

LAHSA's 2022 numbers didn't take into account the city's recent redistricting process that affected Raman's district. She lost some 40% of her constituents as Hancock Park, Park La Brea and other neighborhoods were removed, and Encino and Reseda were added to her district.

 

Post-redistricting, LAHSA's unofficial 2023 data showed that Raman's district again saw a 7% drop in unsheltered homelessness compared with 2022's count. But given the dramatic change in her district boundaries, it's difficult to compare the two years meaningfully.

The 2023 figure comes from raw data collected by LAHSA that was reviewed by The Times. The districts led by Raman and De León were among six districts that saw drops in unsheltered homeless populations, according to that data.

LAHSA didn't release official council district-level data in 2023 because of concerns that the numbers weren't precise, said LAHSA spokesperson Ahmad Chapman.

Raman's challengers in Tuesday's primary — Deputy City Atty. Ethan Weaver and software engineer Levon "Lev" Baronian — both offer voters a different approach on homelessness.

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