By: Sreeram Kurada
After almost a year, LA County resumes the annual homeless count in 2022, which will take place during January 25-27th. The LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is asking for volunteers to help count the unsheltered street count of homeless individuals, which is the main component of the homeless count.
LAHSA Executive Director Heidi Marston remarks on how important this step is in combating homelessness since it gives people an accurate picture of how many homeless individuals there are in LA. It is also important information for Congress since they use such counts to partition resources for homeless organizations and deliver services where they are most needed.
This count was originally supposed to take place in 2021, however. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development granted an exemption, pausing the annual homeless count temporarily because of safety and accuracy concerns. LAHSA has recently stated that the count is now said to occur with appropriate precautions, including outdoor distribution of materials and other requirements such as social distancing and usage of proper masks.
In 2020 alone, the homeless population was more than 66,000 people. It is interesting to see how the pandemic has affected these individuals and whether the number has increased. During the pre-pandemic era, LAHSA has usually done the homeless count every year during a few days in January. Thousands of volunteers have lent their services by counting tents, RVs, and cars housing homeless individuals in LA.