Santa Clarita Valley residents can now better connect homeless people with services through a new county-wide online reporting system.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority unveiled the system, accessible by computer, tablet or phone, that allows people to file a report on the portal to request an outreach team to help someone on the street.
“We’ve been waiting for this to become available,” said Peggy Edwards, interim executive director of Bridge to Home, which operates the seasonal homeless shelter in Santa Clarita. “We hope residents will call them when they need help.”
The Los Angeles Homeless Outreach Portal is funded by the voter-approved Measure H, which passed in March 2017 and raised sales taxes one-fourth of a cent for 10 years to go toward homeless services. Over the course of the decade, the taxes are expected to raise $355 million annually for homeless programs.
LA-HOP employs more than 500 outreach workers in the greater Los Angeles area, with the Santa Clarita Valley serviced in the same county-sanctioned zone as the San Fernando Valley, Edwards said.
When requesting services, informants can anonymously disclose the location, date last seen, number of people involved and any noted physical description. The portal routes requests toward outreach workers in each specific zone, who are then deployed by the regional outreach coordinator for the zone.
People who file a report on the portal may expect a response to take up to 72 hours, due to high demand, the release stated.
The online portal is available for the general public, first responders and service providers to provide information about homeless people on the street.
The new tool is not for requesting homeless camp cleanups or trash removal, according to a county release.
“LA-HOP provides a quick and easy way for residents to be a part of the solution to help combat homelessness,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a prepared statement. “With this portal, we get real-time information about where homeless individuals are, allowing us to connect them to resources more quickly and efficiently.”
At any given time, there are approximately 300 individuals experiencing homelessness who live in Santa Clarita, according to Bridge to Home.
Outreach team efforts include helping someone experiencing homelessness with tasks such as acquirement of an ID or meeting medical needs.