Homeless Count Moves Into Metro and Southern LA County

January 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The three-day 2018 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, which got underway Tuesday night with thousands of volunteers taking to the streets of San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, will move to metropolitan Los Angeles and southern Los Angeles County tonight.

Volunteers will spread out across East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights. Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, downtown L.A. and cities in Southeast L.A. Many of the volunteers live in those neighborhoods and cities and are familiar with where the homeless congregate, according to county officials.

Volunteers will spend the night going from encampment to encampment, including in brush areas and riverbeds, under freeway passes and industrial areas where mobile homes and cars line the streets as part of the effort to get an accurate picture of the region’s homeless situation.

People living in homeless encampments like this one near El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument will be among those being counted by volunteers Thursday . (EGP Archive photo by Mike Alvarez)

For the last 12 years, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has utilized volunteers over 18 years of age who spend between three and four hours recording the number of transients to help determine the amount of federal and county funds needed for homeless programs.

About 7,500 volunteers participated in last year’s count, which found that homelessness in Los Angeles County increased 23 percent to 57,794.

Three members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors were among the volunteers on the first night – Kathryn Barger, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis.

“Our homeless population has a face and a name,” said Barger, who helped scan area in the San Gabriel Valley. “In addition to public safety and mental health, there is no greater emergency or mission than to protect those who are most vulnerable and in need.”

Ridley-Thomas who was among the volunteers in the San Fernando Valley, said he wanted to take part “because every night thousands of men, women, and families, with nowhere else to go, are sleeping on the streets of Los Angeles County. I count because each of us has a moral responsibility to help those in need.”

Solis joined volunteers in El Monte.

“By ensuring informed decisions and effective funding of programs and directed resources to the areas that need it most, the Homeless Count is the first step towards housing homeless individuals and families,” Solis said.

 

Bell Gardens to Count Homeless

January 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Volunteers will be canvassing the city of Bell Gardens for homeless living on the streets, parks or cars as part of the annual Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, officials announced.

City personnel, members of the police department, neighborhood watch and the police explorers will conduct the count Jan. 26 to assist the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

Volunteers will document the number of homeless persons they locate without making physical contact, according to the city. The goal is to obtain an estimate of the unsheltered population in the city.

When completed, the tally will be forwarded to LAHSA, which uses numbers to advocate for aid and measures to address the local homelessness in the community.

Bell Gardens Community Development Director Abel Avalos told EGP the last homeless count in the city by LAHSA in 2011 estimated 195 homeless persons.

Residents who are aware of specific locations where transients typically reside are asked to contact Officer Victor Ruiz of the Bell Gardens Police Department at vruiz@bgpd.org or by calling him at (562) 806-7600.

Commerce Opts-In for the 2016 Homeless Count

January 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Commerce City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to participate in the 2016 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count taking place Jan. 26 to Jan. 28.

The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA)—a City and County of Los Angeles joint power authority formed to address homelessness—is diligently working on its annual homeless count in the City and County of Los Angeles.

Lea este artículo en Español: Commerce Opta por Inclusión en Conteo de Personas Sin Hogar 2016

In 2009, LAHSA expanded its Opt-In provision to allow more local cities and communities to coordinate homeless counts within their borders using local volunteers from public and private agencies. In 2015, 248 cities and communities—including neighborhood councils—enumerated all of their census tracts.

This year, about 126 cities and communities —including Bell Gardens, Monterey Park, East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and Northeast Los Angeles — have signed up to take part, according to Kimberly Barnette, LAHSA regional coordinator.

She told EGP they are still working on getting the cities of Montebello and Vernon to join the massive effort.

The Opt-In Program makes it possible for LAHSA, with a high level of confidence, to obtain specific data and totals on the homeless population in every census tract in a city or neighborhood, according to LAHSA spokesperson Naomi Goldman.

“Participation allows jurisdictions to access the methodology of the 2016 Homeless Count to obtain a Point-In-Time Count estimate of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless population,” she told EGP via email. “Opting-in allows cities, neighborhoods and communities to understand the situation, bring resources to local communities and drive civic engagement.”

Barnette—who made a power presentation about LAHSA’s homeless count to the Commerce Council Tuesday—said they have already identified hot spots for homelessness, some of those areas are near Rosewood Park and Atlantic and Washington Boulevards.

Locaciones identificadas donde se congregan desamparados en Commerce y ciudades vecinas. (LAHSA)

Locaciones identificadas donde se congregan desamparados en Commerce y ciudades vecinas. (LAHSA)

In 2015, LAHSA identified over 44,000 homeless living in the Los Angeles regions. Those numbers do not include Long Beach, Pasadena or Glendale.

During the last homeless count, LAHSA identified 52 homeless in Commerce, all of them adults; 20 living in campers, 15 in vans and cars, 9 on the street, 6 in encampments and 2 living in tents.

Over the past two years, Commerce has made assisting the homeless a priority, said Matthew Rodriguez, director of public safety and community services with Commerce.

“We have reached out to as many as possible and have had success with placement in local shelters,” he told EGP, explaining that outreach is conducted through the city’s Social Services Department.

According to Rodriguez, staff refers the city’s homeless to the Salvation Army’s 70-bed shelter in nearby Bell or connect them to the People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) agency in Los Angeles.

Councilwoman Tina Baca del Rio, however, said she is worried that the homeless people in Commerce may not want help because they have found a way of living by earning easy money.

“Panhandling has become a way of life [in Commerce]…[homeless people] say they get a lot of money from people that go to casinos,” she said, asking Barnette to have LAHSA look into that issue.

“Maybe they can get more services instead of relying on panhandling,” she said.

By opting in, Commerce will be responsible for counting all the unsheltered homeless people in the agreed-upon census tracts. They also need to find a deployment site, select a site coordinator and recruit volunteers.

Rodriguez told EGP Commerce has already taken care of almost everything, but are still in need of more volunteers. He said Commerce residents interested in helping can sign up with the Public Safety and Community Services Department located inside City Hall.

Along with volunteers, about 15 city staff and Sheriff deputies will take part in the count, said Rodriguez.

“There are some areas where we don’t want to send volunteers, so it’s better if the officers go there,” he added.

While Commerce has participated the past three years in the homeless count, this time is different, City Administrator Jorge Rifa told EGP.

“Previously, this was under the aegis of the regional Gateway Council of Governments (COG),” a more local and informal count, he said. “During this time period the process has become more formalized and at least for Commerce a much more accurate and thorough process.”

LAHSA expects to deploy about 6,000 volunteers during the three-day count in the city and county.

Since 2005, LAHSA has coordinated six biennial homeless counts, however, starting 2016 the count will occur annually, according to the agency’s website.

For those interested in volunteering or to obtain more information about the 2016 homeless count visit, www.theycountwillyou.com.

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Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Commerce Opta por Inclusión en Conteo de Personas Sin Hogar 2016

January 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

El Ayuntamiento de Commerce aprobó el martes una resolución para participar en el Conteo de Personas Sin Hogar de Los Ángeles 2016 que se llevará a cabo del 26 al 28 de enero.

La Autoridad de Servicios para Desamparados de Los Ángeles (LAHSA)—una autoridad conjunta de la Ciudad y el Condado de Los Ángeles para hacer frente a la falta de vivienda—está trabajando diligentemente en su recuento anual de personas sin hogar en la Ciudad y el Condado de Los Ángeles.

Read this article in English: Commerce Opts-In for the 2016 Homeless Count

En 2009, LAHSA amplió su prestación de Optar por Inclusión para permitir que más ciudades y comunidades locales coordinen los recuentos de personas sin hogar dentro de sus fronteras por medio de voluntarios locales de organismos públicos y privados. En 2015, 248 ciudades y comunidades, incluyendo los consejos vecinales enumeraron todas sus secciones censales.

Este año, cerca de 126 ciudades y comunidades—incluyendo Bell Gardens, Monterey Park, el Este de Los Ángeles, Boyle Heights y el Noreste de Los Ángeles—se han inscrito para participar, de acuerdo con Kimberly Barnette, coordinadora regional de LAHSA.

Ella le dijo a EGP que aún están trabajando para que las ciudades de Montebello y Vernon se unan al esfuerzo masivo.

El programa de inclusión permite que LAHSA, con un alto nivel de confianza, obtenga datos y totales específicos de la población sin hogar en cada sección censal en una ciudad o un barrio, según la portavoz de LAHSA Naomi Goldman.

Locaciones identificadas donde se congregan desamparados en Commerce y ciudades vecinas. (LAHSA)

Locaciones identificadas donde se congregan desamparados en Commerce y ciudades vecinas. (LAHSA)

“La participación permite a jurisdicciones acceder a la metodología del conteo de personas sin hogar 2016 para obtener una estimación durante un periodo dado de la población sin hogar protegida y desprotegida”, le dijo a EGP vía email. “La Opción de Inclusión permite a ciudades, barrios y comunidades entender la situación, llevar recursos a las comunidades locales e impulsar la participación cívica”.

Barnette—quien dio una presentación al Ayuntamiento el martes sobre el recuento de personas sin hogar de LAHSA—dijo que ya han identificado locaciones donde usualmente se congregan indigentes, incluyendo áreas cercanas al parque Rosewood y los bulevares Atlantic y Washington.

En 2015, LAHSA identificó a más de 44.000 personas sin hogar en las regiones de Los Ángeles. Esas cifras no incluyen a Long Beach, Pasadena o Glendale.

Durante el último recuento de desamparados, LAHSA identificó a 52 personas sin hogar en Commerce, todos ellos adultos; 20 viviendo en campers, 15 en camionetas y autos, 9 en la calle, 6 en campamentos y 2 que viven en tiendas de campaña.

En los últimos dos años, la ciudad ha hecho una prioridad el asistir a personas sin hogar, dijo Matthew Rodríguez, director de seguridad pública y servicios comunitarios en Commerce.

“Hemos alcanzado la mayor cantidad posible y hemos tenido éxito enviándolos a refugios locales”, le dijo a EGP, y explicó que el proceso lo lleva el Departamento de Servicios Sociales de la ciudad.

Según Rodríguez, el personal de la ciudad refiere a los desamparados a la ciudad vecina Bell al refugio de 70 camas del Salvation Army o los conectan con la agencia Personas Asistiendo a Los Desamparados (PATH) de Los Ángeles.

Sin embargo, la concejal Tina Baca del Río dijo que está preocupada de que indigentes en Commerce puede que no quieran ayuda porque han encontrado una forma de vida mediante la obtención de dinero fácil.

“El mendigar se ha convertido en una forma de vida [en Commerce] … [los indigentes] dicen que reciben mucho dinero de la gente que va a los casinos”, afirmó, pidiendo a Barnette que LAHSA revise ese problema.

“Tal vez se pueden conseguir más servicios en lugar de mendigar”, agregó.

Al incluirse, Commerce estará encargado de contar a todos los indigentes sin hogar en las secciones censales acordadas. También tienen que encontrar un lugar de despliegue, seleccionar un coordinador de sitio y reclutar voluntarios.

Rodríguez le dijo a EGP que Commerce se ha encargado de casi todo, pero todavía están en busca de voluntarios. Él dijo que los residentes de Commerce interesados en ayudar pueden inscribirse en el Departamento de Seguridad Pública y Servicios a la Comunidad ubicado dentro del Ayuntamiento.

Junto con los voluntarios, alrededor de 15 empleados de la ciudad y oficiales del alguacil participarán en el conteo, dijo Rodríguez. “Hay algunas áreas en las que no queremos enviar a voluntarios, es mejor que vayan los oficiales”.

Aunque Commerce ha participado en los últimos tres años en el conteo de personas sin hogar, esta vez es diferente, Jorge Rifa, administrador de la ciudad le dijo a EGP.

“Previamente estaba bajo la égida regional de enlace del Consejo de Gobiernos (COG)”, un recuento más local e informal, dijo. “A través del tiempo el proceso se ha vuelto más formal y por lo menos para Commerce un proceso mucho más preciso y completo”.

LAHSA espera tener alrededor de 6.000 voluntarios durante el conteo de tres días en la ciudad y el condado.

Desde 2005, LAHSA ha coordinado seis recuentos bienales de personas sin hogar, sin embargo, a partir del 2016 el conteo se llevará a cabo cada año, según el sitio web de la agencia.

Para los interesados en ser voluntarios o para obtener más información acerca del conteo de personas sin hogar 2016 visiten, www.theycountwillyou.com.

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Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Volunteers Sought For Homeless Count

January 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is seeking 6,000 volunteers to assist with the 2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, which will be held Jan. 27-29.

Volunteers will be dispatched from 87 regional deployment centers to targeted census tracts throughout Los Angeles County to record the number of homeless people, vehicles used as homes and homeless encampments observed.

Volunteers will select their preferred deployment center when they register at TheyCountWillYou.org.

The count will be conducted in the San Gabriel Valley and Eastern Los Angeles County from 8 p.m.-midnight on Jan. 27; in West Los Angeles and the South Bay from 8 p.m.-midnight on Jan. 28; in the Antelope Valley from 6-10 a.m. on Jan. 29; and the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, metropolitan Los Angeles and South Los Angeles from 8 p.m.-midnight on Jan. 29.

The count will follow definitions of homelessness established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which include people living in places not meant for human habitation such as cars, parks, sidewalks and abandoned buildings.

A simultaneous count by service provider staff will enumerate homeless individuals and family members staying in emergency shelters and other homeless programs.

In conjunction with the three-night street and shelter count, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority will perform a detailed demographic survey to collect information critical in planning and assigning resources for homeless programs and services, it says.

The survey will capture such demographic data as age, gender, ethnicity, individual and family homelessness, duration of homelessness, and veteran status. Additional demographic data seeks to identify reasons why individuals became homeless, services utilized and benefits received.

“The 2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is a critical opportunity to gain information about the size and scope of the challenge we face to house community residents experiencing homelessness,” said Executive Director Peter Lynn.

“We use this information to better target our homeless service resources. Volunteers will make a difference in their community, and the lives of their homeless neighbors, by committing four hours of their time.”

The homeless count is conducted every two years. The 2013 count found more than 39,000 homeless men, women and children.

Additional information is available by emailing HomelessCount@lahsa.org.

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