Homeless task force reviews LAHSA’s comprehensive report on Santa Clarita count

Los Angeles Homeless Services Associate Director of Homeless Services Victor Hinderliter, left, and Jennifer Del Toro of the City of Santa Clarita look at a map of Santa Clarita as they prepare for the 2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count at The Center at the City of Santa Clarita's Activities Center in Santa Clarita on Tuesday evening. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita homeless task force reviewed Wednesday a Los Angeles County organization’s comprehensive report that broke down homelessness data for the area.

After releasing its 2019 homeless count, which is an unduplicated tally of sheltered and unsheltered individuals facing homelessness across the county, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, or LAHSA, released its “Homeless Statistics by City” report “as part of an effort to  improve communication and homelessness data sharing with the cities located within L.A. County,” the report read.

Santa Clarita’s 2019 count increased to 256 homeless individuals from the 156 counted last year, according to LAHSA’s point-in-time report for the city released June. However, nearly 700 people were assessed, according to city officials.

What the PIT data did not yet include were details on how many persons were assessed and which of those were children, veterans, families or of ages 62 and older, nor the types of service provided. 

Here’s a breakdown of those figures from the report that took place from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019: 

  • Total persons assessed: 693
  • Individuals: 431
  • Youth: 62
  • Families: 206
  • Veterans: 31
  • Persons aged 62 and older: 46

When it came to the types of services in which the persons were actively enrolled during the reporting period, 227 persons received interim housing, 354 were served through rapid re-housing programs and 458 marked as “other,” which could include access centers, housing navigation, employment, day shelters and safe havens. Street outreach made up the rest of the categories listed. 

A total of 146 persons were placed into permanent housing, according to the report. 

The report clarified that the breakdown did not include unsheltered transition-aged youth, persons sheltered in domestic violence programs, nor those sheltered through motel vouchers. 

“Almost 700 people were assessed last year,” said Jerrid McKenna, assistant to the Santa Clarita city manager, during the homeless task force meeting. “To me, that speaks volumes compared to what we got in the PIT count. It’s nice to get a number that’s actually real and used by our service providers.” 

The 693 figure reflects only persons who have been assessed, meaning those who are connected to available housing and supportive services, but McKenna said: “If you go out to the riverbed and open space areas, the majority of the people don’t want to be assessed.”

He added that the breakdown will better help the 30-plus-member task force in its efforts to obtain the most accurate count for Santa Clarita as possible to help address the homeless issue. 

“We’ve been trying to advocate LAHSA directly to aggregate information on how many people are being served in Santa Clarita,” he said. “I know talking to this group the 256 number for 2019 — even though greater than 2018 — is still not reflective of what each of you and your organizations see on a daily basis and so we preached and we asked multiple times if we could at least get top-line data to know what are we dealing with to get a more accurate picture.”

Members of the task force, including chairman and Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth, expressed appreciation for the availability for the data.

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