Homelessness is arguably our most urgent city issue right now. But it’s hard to help or to coordinate services for our unhoused neighbors unless we know how many people are living on our streets, and where they are. This is why the city’s annual homeless census, taken every January, is so important.
Each year’s census is a “point in time” (PIT) count that includes sheltered adults, unsheltered adults, and unsheltered youth…counted in various ways including the city’s administrative data, demographic surveys, shelter counts, and street counts. And it’s the street count, taken over a three-night period across the city, which needs your help this month.
As in past years, this year’s count in the Greater Wilshire area is being coordinated by the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. The event will take place on Thursday, January 26, starting at 8 p.m. Sign-in and staging will be held, as it has been for the last few years, at Hope Lutheran Church, 6720 Melrose Ave. Volunteers will work in groups, including teams of friends.
“In consideration of everyone’s safety,” says the 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.”
Groups will receive instructions after signing in at the staging site, and will be assigned to specific census tract within the Greater Wilshire area. Counting will be done from cars, without any one-to-one engagement.
Finally, please note that “public health and social distancing guidelines” for large indoor venues will be followed, and proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required to participate. The site is also fully accessible and ADA-compliant, and plenty of on-site parking is provided in the large lot behind the church.
The Greater Wilshire area count will require 50 volunteers on January 26…but only 21 have signed up so far, so if you’ve been considering joining the count this year, now is the time and there’s plenty of room.
Sign up here to help
More information on the city’s annual homeless count is available in this 21-minute video introducing this year’s efforts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qMwT5IBoNg
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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