Equipped with maps, clipboards and volunteer vests, approximately 100 residents from the Santa Clarita Valley participated in the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count on Tuesday.
Although the official count won’t be known for a few more weeks, volunteers were tasked with traveling throughout areas in the city of Santa Clarita based on the regions they were given and to count those who were homeless.
The count, according to Ana Zelaya, a program supervisor at Bridge to Home, is designed to get an accurate understanding of the level of need and resources that should be addressed in Santa Clarita.
“This is more to shed light on the homeless situation out here in the Santa Clarita Valley, but also in all small areas in Los Angeles,” said Ana Zelaya, a program supervisor at Bridge to Home. “Initially this was supposed to happen in January, but because of COVID had to postponed til February.”
“(Volunteers)… go through training, as far as how to go out in the community and actually count individuals and/or families experiencing homelessness, whether they’re in encampments living in a car, the RV, those would be counted as a homeless person, or a family member,” Zelaya added.
Randi Wyatt, volunteer coordinator at Bridge to Home, said the volunteers are divided up based on a tract map, and then the volunteers go through the streets and areas, knowing which are drivable and/or walkable.
Wyatt said that 99 people had registered to participate in the event, heading out into the relatively colder temperatures with a small snack bag and their volunteer vest. Both adults and children were present at the local count, which set off officially at 8 p.m. from the Santa Clarita Recreation Center.
“In all honesty, when people participate in these kinds of activities with our community, they actually get a sense of what their community is doing, not only in organizations and groups, but also how their community needs help,” said Wyatt. “(They learn) how to be a support, and how they can be a resource and just how to outreach and connect with people.”