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Mankind is No Island… Shot Entirely on a Cellphone

Tropfest NY 2008 winner, “Mankind Is No Island” by Jason van Genderen

Torah teaches us to care for the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the poor… Are we doing our job? Is it enough to go serve in a shelter or food pantry on Thanksgiving or New Years?

According to the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, there are:

  • 73,702 homeless people on any given night in Los Angeles County
  • 40,144 homeless people in the City of Los Angeles alone
  • 141,737 homeless people annually in Los Angeles County (COC)

Can you stand to look at the problem straight in the face? If so, check out these lives that need our help:


  • Approximately 59% of the homeless population is male, 24% female, and 2% transgendered[1]


  • African Americans are over-represented in the homeless population, comprising over 50%, while in Los Angeles County they comprise just over 9% of the general population
  • Nearly 24% of the homeless population is Hispanic/Latino, and 19% is Caucasian


  • Median age of Los Angeles COC homeless is 45 years old
  • 15% of the homeless population (10,116) are children under the age of 18


  • 12% of homeless people are veterans.


  • 41% of the homeless population have a high school diploma or GED
  • 7% have an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or higher degree


  • 83% of the County’s homeless population is unsheltered
  • Of the 35% of homeless who tried to access a shelter, 45% of the individuals state they were turned away

Homeless Families

  • 24% of Los Angeles’ homeless are homeless families
  • 16,643 homeless individuals comprise over 6200 homeless families in Los Angeles County
  • 82% of homeless families are unsheltered

Domestic Violence

  • 20% of women reported experiencing domestic violence
  • 11% of homeless individuals stated that they were currently experiencing domestic violence


  • 27% of homeless people report being a victim of assault since becoming homeless
  • 42% of homeless individuals report being victims of police harassment since becoming homeless

Health Care

  • 48% of homeless people use the emergency room as their primary source of health care
  • Over 53% had been to the emergency room at least once in the last 12 months
  • 22% have needed medical attention since becoming homeless but were unable to receive it


  • Nearly 31% of homeless survey respondents are mentally ill and almost 35% are physically disabled
  • Overall, around 74% of homeless individuals report a disabling condition

Need Affordable Housing[2]

  • Over 40% Los Angeles renters use more than 30% of their income to pay rent
  • 10% of Los Angeles affordable housing needs have been met

[1] Does not add up to 100% because homeless children were not assigned genders.

[2] Building Healthy Communities 101. “Housing Affordability.”

*Continuum of Care (COC): does not include cities of Pasadena, Glendale, or Long Beach.

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