Community Engagement Needed to Accurately Document Homelessness in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has initiated registration for the 2024 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, scheduled for January 23, 24, and 25. Those interested in volunteering for the Homeless Count can sign up at TheyCountWillYou.org.
Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, CEO of LAHSA, emphasized the count’s significance in understanding the distribution of homelessness and identifying areas requiring targeted services. She urged community participation, stating, “We need thousands of people to come out and count as many census tracts as possible.”
During the Unsheltered Count, taking place across Los Angeles County’s 4,000 square miles, volunteers will document unsheltered individuals, tents, vehicles, and makeshift shelters in their assigned census tracts. The count will unfold on January 23 in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, January 24 in East and West Los Angeles, and conclude on January 25 in the Antelope Valley, Metro, and South Los Angeles.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates a biennial point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness. LAHSA has conducted the Homeless Count annually since 2016, offering improved insights into homelessness trends. Government agencies, including LAHSA, leverage the data to devise strategies, allocate funding, and allocate resources effectively.
To execute the Homeless Count, LAHSA seeks 8,000 volunteers, covering the entire Continuum of Care. In a technological advancement, volunteers will use Esri’s Homeless Point in Time App for the second year, streamlining data collection. This year, LAHSA is piloting geofencing within the app to alert volunteers if they stray beyond assigned census tract boundaries.
The annual Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count includes the Youth Count, scheduled from January 22 through 31, and the Housing Inventory Count on January 24. The initiative relies on community engagement to drive accurate results and inform strategies for combating homelessness.