Los Angeles’ Annual Homeless Count is This Thursday – Volunteers Still Needed!

Mid City West Neighborhood Council volunteers Arnali Ray and Lynda La Rose checked in volunteers at the 2022 homeless count last February.

 

If you’ve ever wanted to help homelessness in Los Angeles, even in a small way, a great opportunity is coming up later this week.  On Thursday, January 26, at 8 p.m., volunteers in both the Greater Wilshire and Mid City West areas will be fanning out across census tracts in their respective neighborhoods to help with the city’s annual homeless count.  It’s a “point in time” census that helps the plan for and direct services to the thousands of people now living on our streets. The work is vital but simple – done in pairs or small groups, and mostly from cars – and it takes just a couple of hours of your time.

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), “The annual Homeless Count is an essential component in getting vital information that helps provide an accurate picture of the state of homelessness in Los Angeles.”

And Greater Wilshire-area count coordinator Raphie Cantor says, “The Homeless Count is one of the best ways for community members to take direct action in combating homelessness in our county. The data collected on January 26th will inform LAHSA’s efforts for the next year and beyond. It only takes a couple of hours, but it makes a world of difference for how we chart our future. Many people feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do about the gargantuan issue of housing insecurity in our community. This is one way I can guarantee makes an impact.”

As in past years, this year’s count in the Greater Wilshire area is being coordinated by the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, with sign-in and staging at Hope Lutheran Church6720 Melrose Ave.  And the Mid City West event, coordinated by the Mid City West Neighborhood Council will stage its hub at CBS Television City (7800 Beverly Blvd.).  At both locations, volunteers will sign in, receive instructions, and will then be assigned to specific census tract within the geographic area.

“In consideration of everyone’s safety,” says the GWNC registration website, “we are encouraging volunteers to sign up as teams of two or more. This will allow teams to stay in their Count Team Bubble with people you know. If you do not have teammates at this time, you are still welcome to sign up as an individual for the Count. Others can join your team later through this site, or you can be a part of a team created at your deployment site. Our goal is to have every volunteer engage meaningfully and safely during the Count.”

If you’ve helped with the Count before, this year’s event will be very similar…with the addition of a new phone app that should help make the work even easier.  As Cantor told the Buzz, “This app is created by ESRI, which is a Redlands, CA company that specializes in ArcGIS data collection. Hopefully, this app will smooth out hiccups from prior years. The GWNC count will consist primarily of driving census tracts, and volunteers will be teamed up and given a couple tracts a piece to take on.”

Also this year, for the third time, new Los Angeles City Councilmember Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky will be joining the Mid City West count.  In a statement sent out by the MCWNC, Yaroslavsky
said, “Each year, the Los Angeles Homelessness Count provides City and County leaders with a critical snapshot of the growing homeless emergency in our region. These efforts are critical in helping secure additional resources, delivering services to our unhoused residents, and moving people into housing. I encourage all residents of Mid-City West who are able to join the Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and my office in volunteering their time for this urgent effort.”

The Greater Wilshire count will require 50 volunteers on January 26 (with only 25 signed up so far), and Mid City West needs 131 (with 80 registered as of this morning). So lots of help is still needed. Please add your name to the list if you haven’t already!

 

Sign up here to help in Greater Wilshire

Sign up here to help in Mid City West

 

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About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

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