While Los Angeles has been making a concerted effort to house the homeless, there are a number of issues that complicate the picture for the county, among them, the difficulty of establishing an accurate count and a rampant case of NIMBYism regarding new affordable housing. Arriving at a complete picture of homelessness remains a challenge; sorting unsheltered from sheltered individuals is at best, an inexact science.

While homelessness looms over other aspects of Los Angeles County housing, we can't discount skyrocketing rents, increasing pressure to gentrify low cost real estate, the racism that continues to reverberate through the housing market because of redlining, and economic displacement as significant issues. Los Angeles County needs to do better for its residents.

LA Counts provides useful data about the complexity of housing in Los Angeles County but that data comes with the caveat that there is still much we do not know about this multifaceted issue. Believe it or not, your citizen-driven investigation into this area and support of nonprofits working in this space can make a difference. Add your voice to the chorus: use the data to ask some uncomfortable questions and speak truth to power.