Frequently Asked Questions

Does Shelter Partnership Provide Housing and Other Direct Services?

No. Shelter Partnership does not provide housing, shelter or direct service. If you are in need of housing or shelter, please call 211.

What type of work does Shelter Partnership Do?

Shelter Partnership works to prevent and solve homelessness by:

  • Operating the S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank by soliciting large-scale donations of merchandise and ensuring that these items are delivered to the people and agencies who need them most;
  • Providing technical assistance to community-based organizations and public agencies (helping agencies receive more than $1 billion in federal funds);
  • Conducting research and publishing analytical studies to inform public policy;
  • Promoting community education.

What is the definition of homeless?

By definition, a homeless person is anyone who lives in a residence or temporary shelter not designed for sleeping (car, park, abandoned building, tent encampment). But, people must remember that homeless is not a label to define a person. Cancer is not a person, AIDS is not a person, homelessness is not a person. These are difficult experiences many people have to deal with, but not their only defining characteristic.

How many people are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County?

According to the 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, over 57,000 men, women and children homeless in Los Angeles County on any given night. Homelessness reaches all ages, races and genders. Here are the demographics of the Los Angeles homeless population:

  • By gender:
    • 70% - male
    • 30% - female
  • By race:
    • 38% - White
    • 38% - African American
    • 22% - Hispanic
    • 2% - Other (Asian, Native American)
  • By age:
    • 10% - 18 years old or younger
    • 8% - 18-24 years old
    • 60% - 25-54 years old
    • 14% - 55-61 years old
    • 8% - 62 years old and older

How do people become homeless?

The specific circumstances that contribute to their homelessness or poverty are unique to each person. There are many, many reasons that a person is homeless. Common factors that lead to homelessness include lack of affordable housing, job loss, domestic violence, mental or health issues, substance abuse, and more.

Why has homelessness increased in Los Angeles over the past few years?

There is no single, specific reason why homelessness has increased recently in Los Angeles. The largest factor for the Los Angeles homelessness epidemic is the difficult housing market. The median existing rent for a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles County is $1,360, and for a two bedroom apartment it is $1,750*. For low income workers, this represents a very significant portion of their pay. Many people are struggling to afford basic housing. Another major factor is the low vacancy rate across Los Angeles County. According to real estate web site Zillow, the vacancy rate in Southern California is half that of the national average.
*Median existing rents as of Jan. 2018, reported by

Can homelessness be actually solved?

Homelessness is an incredibly complex social issue. But, with collective efforts of government, non-profit organizations and concerned citizens, homelessness can be defeated. Shelter Partnership believes that the following strategies can end homelessness in Los Angeles:

  • Develop more affordable housing
  • Assist people who in danger of losing their housing
  • Effectively outreach to high-risk individuals to provide them with crisis housing and rapid exits into housing.
  • Create more permanent supportive housing options
  • Increase supportive services and early intervention programs for those in danger of becoming homeless

Why are veterans experiencing homelessness?

Veterans face the same lack of affordable housing or living wage paying jobs that is an issue for many Los Angeles residents. However, veterans are at a significantly increased risk of homelessness due to an increased likelihood of experiencing mental and physical health issues connected to PTSD (such as mental illness and substance abuse) than the average person.

Why do young people (under 18 years old) become homeless?

In Los Angeles, youths under 18 are one of the fastest growing homeless populations. There is no single, specific reason younger people become homeless. Here are some of the most common causes of homelessness for younger people:

  • Leaving home due to abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
  • Being abandoned by parents (for reasons such as non-acceptance of the young person’s gender identity or sexual orientation; a teen pregnancy; substance abuse by the parent or youth; incarceration of parents; and many more reasons)
  • Exiting foster care or juvenile correctional system

How can I help?

There are hundreds of homeless service providers in Los Angeles in need of financial assistance and volunteers. Shelter Partnership has a robust volunteer program and utilizes over 500 volunteers each year. Get involved today!

Are my online donations to Shelter Partnership secure?

Yes. Shelter Partnership’s website is equipped with a secure server to process your credit card donation. Visit our secure online donation page.

Can I setup an automatic monthly gift to Shelter Partnership?

Yes. Anyone interested in donating to Shelter Partnership can choose to make a one-time gift or a recurring donation by using our secure online donation page.

Are my donations to Shelter Partnership tax-deductible?

Yes. Shelter Partnership is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization fully qualified to receive tax-deductible donations. For further information about how your contributions may impact your taxes, we recommend consulting a tax professional.

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