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When 62-year-old David Smedley and 27-year-old Roberto Hernandez clocked in to work at 7:30 in the morning this past winter, they did so knowing that their entire day would be spent searching the streets for homeless people. It wasn't glamorous work, but for Hernandez, Smedley, and 23 other veterans, it was a major step in their efforts to shed their own homeless label.
Each year, organizations across the country commemorate National Volunteer Week as a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of civic involvement and leadership.
The week is supported and endorsed by President Obama, US Congress, governors, and municipal leaders, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.
Each day, LAHSA and our many volunteers work with the most vulnerable people in our communities – the homeless men, women and children who are struggling to return to permanent and sustainable housing, and safe and healthy lives. Without the hard work, enthusiasm and support of our many volunteers, the work we do at LAHSA would not be possible.
Everyone at LAHSA wishes to thank the dedicated and extraordinary volunteers who work with us throughout the year. Our volunteers are helping to prevent and end homelessness in Los Angeles County!
US Vets, April 08, 2013 – Unemployment is a serious challenge for American veterans, particularly those transitioning from or at-risk of becoming homeless. Currently, the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is nearly twice the rate of the civilian population.
For the past two months, 25 U.S.VETS clients were hired by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to conduct in-person surveys with homeless people across Los Angeles County. Every two years, LAHSA – the lead homeless agency in the region – conducts a comprehensive count of homeless people in the county, which helps Congress and other stakeholders understand the extent of homelessness in our region. LAHSA then follows up the count with interviews with homeless individuals to find out more information about why they are homeless, where they come from, their age and other vital demographic information. As LAHSA’s Executive Director Michael Arnold says, understanding the problem is the first step to solving it. Our vets did amazing work on the two-month job. They started early, worked long days (rain or shine) and showed the professionalism, dedication, compassion and persistence needed to get more than 3,000 homeless people to participate in the interviews.
But LAHSA didn’t stop there. The agency then wrote up a summary of each of the veterans who had worked on the project and sent out a request to hundreds of their service providers, stakeholders and sister agencies, asking them to consider hiring the veterans in permanent jobs. With the boost of support from LAHSA, many unemployed vets are well on their way to finding meaningful employment again.
For more information about US Vets, click here.
Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013 – The National Alliance to End Homelessness today released its annual report on the economic, housing, and demographics factors that impact homelessness, The State of Homelessness in America 2013. The report analyzes national as well as state-by-state trends and the economic, housing, and demographic factors that impact homelessness.
Download your copy here.
Los Angeles, CA, March 29, 2013 – The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) today announced that the Los Angeles City Council confirmed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointment of Reverend Kevin Sauls to LAHSA’s Board of Commissioners.
For more information, please click here.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is proud to join our homeless healthcare partners to support World Tuberculosis Day 2013, commemorated this year on March 24th. World TB Day, established by the World Health Organization, not only provides healthcare providers with an opportunity to acknowledge the milestones we have reached as we seek to end the transmission of TB, but it is an opportunity to review and assess the work ahead. This year’s theme for World TB Day is “Stop TB in My Lifetime.”
For more information, please click here.
Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2013 – The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) today announced that Los Angeles was awarded $73.9 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to renew and sustain funding for 203 community-based homeless programs. These programs comprise permanent supportive housing and services throughout the City and County of Los Angeles.
For more information, please click here.
The Family Solutions System (FSS) is a new system of service delivery in Los Angeles County, developed to improve and expedite the delivery of housing and other supportive services to homeless families in Los Angeles County, and those that are imminently at-risk of becoming homeless. The Family Solutions System (FSS) was developed by a collaboration of partner organizations and adopted in 2013 by the Los Angeles Homeless Continuum of Care, under the leadership of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Funding is provided by LAHSA and the City and County of Los Angeles.
For more information about the Family Solutions System, please click here.
In late January 2013, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) completed the largest count of homeless individuals and families in the United States. This is the fifth count conducted by LAHSA, a biennial effort that is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
More than 5,000 volunteers participated in the 2013 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, covering nearly all of the 4,000 square miles of Los Angeles County.
The count, which took place over three nights and one day, tallies the number of homeless individuals and families in the region. The data collected helps LAHSA assess the magnitude of homelessness in various communities and evaluate whether communities have made progress in their goals toward reducing and ultimately ending homelessness in Los Angeles.
The count also makes it possible to track changes that have occurred in the homeless population over time. For example, the 2011 homeless count revealed that the number of female military veterans experiencing homelessness had increased by 54 percent, prompting the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs office to increase resources for those veterans.
Volunteer participation is critical to the count. After completing a short training at one of 104 deployment centers, volunteers were assigned census tract maps, given flashlights, and asked to wear t-shirts identifying them as count volunteers. The teams then went out went out on foot to count the number of people outside or in cars, tents and other vehicles. Volunteers were urged to respect the privacy of the people they were counting by not asking them questions or invading their personal space.
Volunteers are trained to follow the definitions of homelessness established by HUD, which include people sleeping in their vehicles, in parks, in alleys, or on the sidewalk. LAHSA also counts people living in emergency shelters and in transitional housing, as well as people in institutions such as emergency rooms, jails and detention centers, and alcohol and drug treatment facilities.
Volunteers across the county were joined by city officials, community leaders and a number of elected officials. At South Los Angeles’ Holman Methodist Church, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas spoke to volunteers and then walked with them through Leimert Park to count the homeless in the area. In Westchester, Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl greeted volunteers and thanked them for their hard work and willingness to help those in need in their community.
In 2009, there were an estimated 52,931 homeless in Los Angeles County. In 2011, the number decreased slightly to 51,340, with continuing concentrations in downtown Los Angeles's Skid Row and in South Los Angeles. LAHSA will release a full report on the 2013 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count by midsummer. Although LAHSA is hopeful that this year’s numbers will also show a decrease, the continuing economic recession could mean an increase in the number of homeless individuals and families.
On March 13, 2013, HUD announced the award of approximately $73,920,983 to the Los Angeles Continuum of Care (CoC) for projects supporting individuals and families faced with homelessness that participated in the FY2012 Continuum of Care Program Notice of Funding Availability. For more information, please click here.