Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority officials said Friday that they need more volunteers to sufficiently tally the county's homeless population.
The effort, known as the point-in-time count, is essential to understanding how large the homeless crisis has become and is required to be conducted by Continuum of Care providers to receive federal funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This year's point-in-time count will occur Jan. 21-23, with volunteers canvassing more than 80 cities and 200 communities across Los Angeles County in that time, LAHSA officials said. Volunteers can sign up online at www.theycountwillyou.org/volunteer, where a list of count locations can be found.
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On Jan. 21, volunteers will canvass the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys. On Jan. 22, they will focus on west and southeast Los Angeles as well as the South Bay. On Jan. 23, volunteers will count homeless people in Antelope Valley, downtown Los Angeles and South Los Angeles.
LAHSA officials said volunteers are needed most for the counts in east Lancaster, east Palmdale, Granada Hills, Northridge, Rosemead, Avocado Heights, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Bel Air, Pacific Palisades, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, South Gate, Lawndale and Palos Verdes.
Homelessness in Los Angeles County increased by 12% from 2018 to 2019 to reach an estimated 58,936 people, based on the results of last year's point- in-time count. The figures were released in June.
Nearly three-quarters of those people were reported to be living in cars, tents, makeshift shelters or on the streets without any apparent cover from the elements.
"We have the largest unsheltered population in the nation and one of the largest homeless counts across America. Only New York has more people experiencing homelessness on any given night," former LAHSA Executive Director Peter Lynn said at the time.
The city of Los Angeles saw a 16% increase in its numbers, which resulted in about 36,000 homeless people.