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For nearly half of Black voters in L.A., homelessness is personal, poll finds

A homeless person leaves MacArthur park as city officials closed it for renovations
A homeless person leaves MacArthur park on Oct. 15 as city officials closed it for renovations.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times )

Nearly half of Black voters in Los Angeles County have been homeless, have experienced housing insecurity in the past year or know someone who has — a significantly larger share than for other racial and ethnic groups, according to a new poll.

The numbers highlight the sharp racial inequity of homelessness in Los Angeles. Black residents make up roughly 8% of L.A. County‘s population, but 34% of its homeless population, according to the most recent official count.

The new poll by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute, done in cooperation with the Los Angeles Times, shows that among Black voters countywide, 49% either have been homeless or housing insecure in the past year or know someone who has been.

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By comparison, 29% of white voters and 25% of Asian American voters have such direct experience. For Latino voters, it’s 42%.

One other figure that helps drive the racial gap: Black and Latino voters in Los Angeles are far more likely to rent than be homeowners.

Overall, about half of registered voters in L.A. County are renters. Among them, roughly 1 in 8 have been threatened with eviction or been unable to pay their rent in the past year, and another 1 in 4 know someone who has, the poll found.

L.A. voters want the government to focus on shelter for homeless people living in the streets, even if those efforts are short term, a poll has found.


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