By Ken Striplin
Santa Clarita City Manager
When we reflect on the success and growth of Santa Clarita over the past year, we cannot forget the strides we have made in addressing homelessness within our community. The City of Santa Clarita has shown a continued commitment to addressing this issue by way of the Community Task Force on Homelessness, the annual Homeless Count and supporting our local non-profit service providers. Regardless of socioeconomic status, individuals deserve to have access to necessities such as food, water and a roof over their heads. The City works hard to deliver these essentials by collaborating with local organizations and developing solutions to meet varying needs.
As mentioned, the Community Task Force on Homelessness continues to serve a crucial role in addressing the challenges of our unhoused population while also working to preserve the quality of life in our community. The Task Force is comprised of a diverse range of organizations ranging from government agencies to service providers, schools and faith-based institutions. They have played a role in the initiatives you see implemented throughout our community to prevent and combat homelessness. Some of these efforts include planning for both the new Bridge to Home and new Family Promise facilities, establishing Family Resource Centers at schools for at-risk families and increasing the local presence of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach Services Team. I am also proud to say that under the guidance of Santa Clarita City Council, City staff have completed approximately 400 homeless encampment site inspections, cleared 23 encampment sites and helped clear more than 11,000 pounds of debris from encampment sites over the past year.
So, what are the City’s next steps for addressing homelessness in Santa Clarita? A significant step will be the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) annual Homeless Count, which is scheduled for Tuesday, January 25, in the Santa Clarita Valley. After the cancellation of the 2021 Homeless Count due to the ongoing pandemic, we are fortunate to resume the annual count under improved conditions safely. The count will now consist of volunteers collecting data digitally, allowing for enhanced collection and quality assurance processes. This data will help guide the City’s strategies and funding for ending homelessness in our community. The LAHSA reports that more than 8,000 community members participate in the Homeless Count. For the count to be accurate and impactful, volunteers are essential. I am grateful that we will have nearly 200 volunteers within the Santa Clarita community to aid us in a successful count. You can learn more about the Homeless Count and opportunities to get involved by visiting TheyCountWillYou.org.
The goal of the Homeless Count and Community Task Force on Homelessness will always be to end homelessness in our community. As our community grows, The City of Santa Clarita will remain focused on preventative measures, support tools and lasting solutions for addressing homelessness and maintaining our exceptional quality of life. Residents can stay up-to-date on the City’s progress to address homelessness by monitoring SantaClaritaHomelessAction.org.
Ken Striplin is Santa Clarita’s City Manager and can be reached at [email protected].