Homelessness in the City of Angels
Welcome to Los Angeles!
The pervasive issue of poverty and homelessness in Los Angeles
Homelessness is a chronic problem plaguing the region perched below palm-tree-lined, iridescent sunsets, bustling show biz glamour and a cultural richness reflected in its culinary offerings, thriving creative community and sprawling estates. Compared to previous years, 2019 saw a stark increase in the number of people living in tents, vehicles, and shelters in both the City and County of Los Angeles–12% and 16% respectively (LAHSA, 2019).
Encampments through 311 complaints
The city's sunny skies and spacious built environment draw over 50 million visitors a year. Considering these preferential living conditions, the city provides an ideal landscape for the houseless to build their own homes. Whereever space permits, homeless encampments rise in clusters or in isolation, deconstructing the very notion of place and home.
Fantasy vs reality: a home for who?
This data journalism project investigates the extent of homelessness at three of Los Angeles' most iconic neighborhoods. We present a dichotomy between a fantasmic, imagined Los Angeles with the reality of homelessness in order to show the pervasive extent of housing insecurity across the beautiful City of Angels that is often romanticized in pop culture. To do this, we contrast georeferenced Airbnb rentals with 311 calls of homeless encampments in 2018 to produce this interactive web story.
This perception of a La-La-Land that is often projected onto Los Angeles is illustrated with a juxtaposition of two transient communities: Airbnb renters and the homeless.
Airbnb Renters: The Transient Traveler
Homeless: The Transient Vagabond
In each neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles, we plotted the density of Airbnb units against the density of homeless encampments reported from 311 calls.
Scroll to zoom in and out of the plot, and mouseover a point to see the density values.
Density is defined as 1 unit per acre.
Density of Airbnb rentals vs. homeless encampment reports
Homelessness encampments are often reported along roads.
Many of the homeless encampment reportings follow the major roads such as Wilshire Blvd. There appears to be a cluster of Airbnb listings in the southern and southeastern corners of K-town.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame
The main strip of Hollywood Boulevard sees a large concentration of Airbnb rentals surrounding the corridor, while there are very few homeless encampment reports. Since the Walk of Fame is a highly-trafficked tourist destination, could this void in homelessness encampments be explained by sweeps and clearings?
Waterfront vacation spots
Venice is the neighborhood with the highest density of Airbnb rentals per acre in Los Angeles, this is clearly seen with the high concentration of Airbnb vacation rentals along the beachfront.