Officials are seeking volunteers to help count Santa Clarita Valley’s homeless population later this month as part of the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count.
The count will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 with volunteer training starting at 7 p.m. Volunteers will be assigned to report to The Centre, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, or the Mental Health America Military Resource Center at 24885 Railroad Ave.
Organized by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, or LAHSA, the count needs volunteers to provide an unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations in Santa Clarita on a single night. Volunteers must be over 18 years of age and the count is expected to take between three and four hours.
The count determines the amount of federal and county funds that will be allocated to homeless programs in Santa Clarita while city and community leaders use the count’s information as a basis for future initiatives in the region.
Going into its thirteenth year, the count stretches across 85 cities as well as unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. Last year, the count totaled 57,794 homeless individuals in the county, including 331 Santa Clarita residents, but officials at Bridge to Home have said that number is way too low and that they have more clients than the number of homeless counted.
Officials have said homeless on the West Coast are more difficult to find due in part to being spread out over a large area.
To register to volunteer, visit TheyCountWillYou.org. For details, call Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority at (213) 683-3333 or Jennifer Del Toro, management analyst for the city, at (661) 286-4030.
Homelessness and LAHSA have been a key focal point of government officials’ agendas in the last year. Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she will oversee the further implementation of funds for Measure H, the 10-year, quarter-cent sales tax passed by voters in March. In June, the supervisors unanimously voted to approve a $1 billion, three-year spending package to pump Measure H funds into local communities.
State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, initiated an audit of LAHSA spending, a move he hopes generates fair funding for homeless resources in Santa Clarita and the Antelope valleys. The audit is expected to be completed in the next few months.