Sign up now to Help with the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count on January 22-24

Councilmember Ryu walks the walk at the 2018 Homeless Count
Councilmember Ryu walks the walk at the 2018 Homeless Count

This story sponsored by Los Angeles Metro to remind readers of traffic pattern changes resulting from Purple Line Construction. Unless noted in the story, Metro is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

It’s that time of year again: L.A. County and municipalities throughout Greater Los Angeles need your help for the 2019 Homeless Count. The count will take place from January 22nd through the 24th. To be one of the 8,500 volunteers to join the count, sign-up at the official website, theycountwillyou.org.

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 10.22.32 AM“Homelessness is the most pressing issue facing L.A. today — and we can only end it if everyone steps up and works together,” wrote Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement when the new count days were announced. “We have made encouraging progress in this fight over the last year. But the work is far from over, and we must keep pushing forward. That’s why it is so important to sign up and volunteer for the 2019 count.”

The homeless count is a key part of receiving funds from the federal government, and the data helps local agencies make decisions on how to spend that money.

Since 2003, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has required local homeless continuum of care systems to count homeless individuals and families during the last 10 days of January in order to receive HUD grant funds. In addition, HUD requires the gathering of information about homeless subpopulations that include the chronically homeless, persons with HIV/AIDS, persons with mental illness, unaccompanied youth under age 18, substance abusers, veterans, and victims of domestic violence.

Locally, the counts have also been used to build public support for local efforts to reduce homelessness as well.

In 2016, L.A. County voters passed two ballot measures to fund shelters and bridge housing programs to “lift 45,000 people out of homelessness.” Two months later, the 2017 survey showed record numbers of people living on the streets, in public spaces, in their cars or in RVs. Last year’s counts showed a slight decrease, even as new projects were beginning to break ground.

In 2018, the counts showed declines in the numbers of people experiencing homelessness overall with spikes in the number of elderly, white, transgender, and gender non-conforming people.

Thanks in part to the new construction, elected leaders Garcetti and County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas announced last month that the ballot measures have already resulted in 9,635 homeless men, women and children placed into permanent housing, and 18,714 people placed into crisis, bridge, and interim housing.

In addition to the county’s efforts, several cities and communities do their own count to supplement the county-wide count. For example, when I interviewed Corri Planck in the City of West Hollywood last summer, she credits the local count, as well as the county-wide count and a local survey of people experiencing homelessness for West Hollywood’s impressive outreach efforts. Check your local government website for more information on how you can get involved in this year’s count.

Homelessness ends one person, one family, at a time. Many of those solutions involve good people and good data. The homeless count gives you a chance to provide both. Sign up today at theycountwillyou.org. The counts will take place at the following locations on the following days:

  • Tuesday, January 22: San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, & San Gabriel Valley
  • Wednesday, January 23: South Bay/Harbor Cities & East and West Los Angeles County
  • Thursday, January 24: Antelope Valley, Metro Los Angeles, & South Los Angeles County

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