The Antelope Valley, in northern Los Angeles County, is a vast area of over 2,200 square miles—comprising more than half of the land area in the County.
The two major cities in the AV — Lancaster and Palmdale — each have populations near 160,000. There are also more than 20 unincorporated townships there—most with populations under 3,000 people. According to the 2019 Homeless Count, 3,298 homeless people reside in the AV, and the majority live in unincorporated areas.
Extreme summer and winter seasons make for a very harsh life for individuals and families who are homeless.
People experiencing homelessness often pitch tents or build make-shift structures to escape the conditions. Some even dig ditches to protect themselves from the elements. More than half of the Antelope Valley’s homeless population lives in RVs, automobiles or other vehicles.
In May, Shelter Partnership was engaged by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the Los Angeles County Executive Office’s Homeless Initiative to develop an actionable plan to address homelessness in the unincorporated Antelope Valley. Our staff have spent considerable time working with the Supervisor’s office; interviewing leaders from the rural townships; meeting with a variety of County Department staff; and convening a core group of individuals from the faith community, social service agencies, colleges, health care providers, and community residents, to help inform our plan.
This homeless plan is a challenging assignment because most of the unincorporated area is zoned for very low-density development and does not have infrastructure (water, sewer, and electric) to support development. As a result, our plan proposes a number of “out of the box” ideas, several of which have never been tried in L.A. County.
With this Strategic Plan for the Homeless in the Unincorporated Areas of the Antelope Valley, there will be a clear direction on how Los Angeles County can most effectively work with the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale and the Antelope Valley’s response to homelessness.