Volunteers are organizing for the City’s annual count of homeless people living on our neighborhood streets, which takes place on January 24 in our area. La Brea Hancock resident Tammy Rosato and Max Kirkham from Oakwood/Maplewood/St.Andrews neighborhood who are organizing the effort for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council are looking for more people to help conduct the count in our area.
“Overall, the number of homeless is down 4% from last year but there’s been a double digit increase in our neighborhoods,” Rosato told the Buzz recently. “And, sadly, many of those people are seniors.”
The annual Los Angeles Homeless Count, conducted every January by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and covering every census tract in the city, is critical to developing solutions and targeting resources for those without homes. Volunteer registration for the 2019 count – scheduled for Thursday, January 24, from 8 p.m. to midnight – is now open at LAHSA’s TheyCountWillYou website.
This year, volunteers in the Greater Wilshire area will once again gather at Hope Lutheran Church, 6720 Melrose Ave., on the night of the count, to receive training and assignments before heading out to drive one of 14 census tracts. Less than 50 volunteers are needed for the area, and you can sign up here (or, if you’re interested in helping in another neighborhood, see https://www.theycountwillyou.org/volunteer).
What do Volunteers do? If you’re wondering what you will be asked to do, here’s the official answer from LAHSA:
There are many volunteer roles available to help make the Homeless Count a success.
Street Count volunteers serve as counters, drivers, and navigators. The roles are assigned when volunteers report to their deployment sites on the nights of the Count. After receiving training and materials, volunteers are deployed in groups of 2-4 to count specific blocks in an area. Each position is outside counting for up to four hours. To sign up for the Street Count, visit TheyCountWillYou.org/Volunteer.
Office volunteers make phone calls to recruit volunteers, help with data entry, and provide support at LAHSA headquarters. You can serve as an office volunteer between December 17 and January 21. To sign up, please email Allura Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We participated in the count several years ago and spent about two hours driving around our small assignment area, counting any people as we could see from the car. We didn’t walk around at all and we made no contact with any people we saw.
Finally, if you’re wondering why the count takes place in January, it’s because the US Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates that all Continuums of Care conduct a census of their homeless population during the last 10 days of January. One reason the Count is conducted in January is that it’s historically the coldest month of the year, promoting more folks to be in shelters for the colder weather, which makes it easier to find and count people. And the reason for conducting the Count toward the end of the month is because that’ when more people experience homelessness, according to LAHSA.
We just signed up again this year, and it’s easy. Please join us if you can and help be part of the solution to ending homelessness in our communities.