Volunteer for the Homeless Count

Los Angeles county and city leaders together issued a call for volunteers to participate in the 2018 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, saying it is critical to ending the crisis of homelessness.

“The 2017 Homeless Count estimated there are almost 58,000 people homeless in Los Angeles County on any given night,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas said at a press conference in Leimert Park. “In a county as prosperous as ours, it is a moral outrage and a humanitarian crisis that even one person has to sleep on the streets at night.”

All photos by Martin Zamora / Board of Supervisors

“The Homeless Count would not exist without the selfless participation of thousands of volunteers across the county,” added Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom, who chairs the commission of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), which conducts the Homeless Count. “I’m optimistic that once again people will answer the call to help their neighbors experiencing homelessness,” he added.

Nearly 8,000 volunteers – a record – participated in the most recent Homeless Count. They conducted a point-in-time census of people living on the streets, in cars, under bridges, and other places not meant for human habitation. The data collected helps policymakers assess strategies and funding to address the crisis of homelessness.

LAHSA hopes to enlist even more volunteers for the next Homeless Count, scheduled January 23-25, 2018. To register online, go to www.theycountwillyou.org.

“Every Angeleno counts, whether they have an address or not,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the press conference. “The annual point-in-time count is the best tool we have to measure the scope of our homelessness crisis. Putting feet on the street in January will make a big difference in our work to get people into safe housing as quickly as we can.”

Board Chair Ridley-Thomas said Measure H and Proposition HHH will give the both the county and the city unprecedented resources to help those experiencing homelessness. 

Measure H is a voter-approved 1/4- cent countywide sales tax that would raise $355 million annually over a decade for services to the homeless. This unprecedented funding stream is expected to help 45,000 homeless men, women and children move into stable housing within the next five years, and provide them with the high-quality, multi-dimensional supportive services they need to succeed in the long run. It is also expected to prevent an estimated 30,000 people from becoming homeless in the first place

Proposition HHH is a voter-approved $1.2-billion city bond that would  finance the construction of 8,000 to 10,000 permanent supportive housing units for the chronically homeless in the city of Los Angeles over the next decade. It would also fund affordable housing, temporary shelters and other amenities needed by the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.