The 2022 homeless count in Los Angeles gets underway Tuesday night with volunteers fanning out in an effort to get an accurate count of the number of unhoused people in the area.
The Greater Los Angeles Point-in-Time Homeless Count was postponed for one month due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County. This is the first count since 2020.
Here's what to know.
What is the Greater Los Angeles Point-in-Time Homeless Count?
Simply put, it's an attempt to get an accurate count of the number of unhoused people in the Los Angeles area. The effort is essential to understanding how large the region's homelessness crisis has become. It must be conducted by Continuum of Care providers to receive federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority conducts the count.
When and where is the LA homeless count?
The count will take place over three nights beginning Tuesday, starting in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
On Wednesday, the count will be in West LA, southeast LA and the South Bay area. On Thursday, counters will fan out in the Antelope Valley, metro LA and South LA.
What happened to the 2021 homeless count?
This year's count will be the county's first since 2020, as last year's was canceled when LAHSA determined it was not safe to gather 8,000 volunteers amid stay-at-home orders and curfews due to COVID-19. The county received an exemption from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was not required to conduct a 2021 count.
This year's count was originally planned for Jan. 25-27, but the county's surge in COVID cases, fueled by the Omicron variant, forced a change in plans.
What changes were made for the 2022 homeless count?
LAHSA had already made design changes to this year's count due to COVID-19, even before the Omicron variant surge forced the postponement. The changes include moving deployment sites outdoors, moving volunteer training sessions online, encouraging volunteers to minimize cross-group interactions, requiring masks and encouraging volunteers to be vaccinated.
"The homeless count is an essential tool in giving us a point-in-time snapshot of homelessness. Data from the count is used to inform the delivery of services and programs for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles,'' Marston said.
When was the last LA County homeless count?
That happened in 2020. According to the 2020 count, the county's homeless population increased by 12.7% over the previous year, while the city of Los Angeles' homeless population jumped by 14.2%.
In January 2019, Los Angeles County had 58,936 people experiencing homelessness, but by January 2020, the number rose to 66,433. The city of Los Angeles counted 36,165 in 2019 and 41,290 in 2020.
When will the 2022 homeless count results be ready?
Results of the 2022 count are expected to be made public by LAHSA over the summer. You can look here for results.