By Mary Lynch
Every year, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) endeavors to count the homeless population throughout Los Angeles County. The count is accomplished by volunteers and provides the county with information that is used to guide decisions on how to combat homelessness.
The 2020 count in Northeast Los Angeles will take place on Thursday, January 23.
Participating in the count is a way to try to ‘do something’ about homlesness, because better measurement of the homeless population can help in the crafting of solutions that are commensurate with the problem.
Better solutions are clearly needed: Last year’s count revealed a 16% increase in homelessness across the county and 12% within the City of Los Angeles.
There are two types of volunteer positions. If you volunteer as a street counter, you will work in a group of two to four people canvassing your assigned area and counting those you see who are homeless. Training, equipment and materials are provided to street counters, and specific roles – car driver, counter, navigator – will be assigned when you report on the night of the count. Or you can volunteer to help in the office before and during the night of the count.
Street counters must be at least 18 years of age. People between the ages of 14 and 17 can volunteer to help in the office only. You must register to be a volunteer. To do so and learn more, visit theycountwillyou.org.
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