Every January, volunteers disperse across Los Angeles County over the span of three nights to conduct a census of how many people are experiencing homelessness through the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. This year, the count will be held on Jan. 23, 24 and 25 from 8 p.m. to midnight. To cover Beverly Hills, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is looking for 75 volunteers to help conduct a visual tally of those without shelter the night of Jan. 24. At press time, 23 people have signed up for the local count.
“The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is invaluable for understanding the scope and nature of homelessness in Los Angeles County,” Christopher Yee, LAHSA communications specialist, told the Courier. “The count is an opportunity to reflect on the life-saving impact of our collective investments, the challenges we continue to tackle together, and the humanity of the homelessness crisis.”
The last count, which was conducted in Jan. 2023, found approximately 75,518 people were experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles County. According to data released by LAHSA, that number jumped up by 9% from 2022, which found 69,144 homeless people in the county. Of those 69,144, LAHSA reported 39 were in Beverly Hills.
“Thousands of volunteers are expected to participate in this year’s Homeless Count,” Yee said. “It’s an opportunity for people throughout greater Los Angeles to make a difference, get involved, and help their neighbors experiencing homelessness. The street count is a visual count in which teams of volunteers tally each person, tent, makeshift structure and vehicle they see that show signs of habitation.”
Ideally, volunteers go out in teams of three, and individual volunteers can be placed by homeless count leads at a LAHSA deployment site. In these small groups, volunteers scatter across the county and tally the number of unsheltered people in their assigned area.
The results of the 2024 count will be released by LAHSA to the public sometime this spring or summer. The count includes all of Los Angeles County, with the exception of Glendale, Pasadena and Long Beach, which do their own. The agency heavily depends on a large volunteer base to conduct the Homeless Count, and this year LAHSA is looking for 8,000 volunteers. Volunteers are instructed to use Esri’s Homeless Point in Time app, and this year LAHSA is piloting a geofencing feature that alerts volunteers if they moved outside the boundary of their assigned census area.
To learn more or sign up to volunteer in your neighborhood, visit https://www.theycountwillyou.org/.