Notes On Opt-In Communities Dashboard

August 14, 2017


The opt-in community data produced for the 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count combines both sheltered and unsheltered counts by census tract. The report allows communities to see point-in-time Homeless Count numbers, both the total counts of those staying in emergency shelter, transitional housing or safe havens, as well the number of adults individuals and adult family members on the street and estimates of the number of persons living in cars, vans, campers/RVs, tents and makeshift shelters. 

Street Count (without Unsheltered Youth)

The Street Count consists of volunteers across the LA CoC canvassing census tracts, and counting the individuals, family members, and the number of vehicles and encampments that are believed to be inhabited by unsheltered persons on the three nights of the Point-In-Time Count (January 24, 25, and 26 of 2017). 

  • LAHSA conducts a Demographic Survey for unsheltered populations. This tool allows LAHSA to estimate the total number of individuals and family members living in vehicle and encampment dwelling types. Once both the Street Count and the Demographic Survey are conducted, a weighted estimate for vehicle and encampment dwellers is applied to the units counted. You can visit this post to learn more about the conversion factors LAHSA used to estimate the number of persons in vehicles and encampments. 
  • Opt-in community data does not include the estimated number of unsheltered youth. The Youth Count method involves the use of a targeted survey sample to produce an estimate for the total unsheltered youth population. Unlike the Street Count, which is a full enumeration of all unsheltered households with at least one member over the age of 24, the Youth Count involves statistical extrapolation to uncounted areas. For this reason, LAHSA does not include the Youth Count as part of the estimates for opt-in communities. This could cause a discrepancy between the total count for a Service Planning Area (SPA) and the grand total count for all opt-in communities within the SPA.

Shelter Count (Youth and Adults)

The data included as part of the Shelter Count is collected in part from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which is LAHSA’s administrative system for tracking information about clients across the Los Angeles Continuum of Care (LA CoC).

  • Data for service projects that do not use HMIS is collected through the MyOrg online form, which allows homeless service providers to electronically submit information pertaining to their service projects.
  • Each service project is assigned a location within the LA CoC, and based on this address, the location is matched to the 2010 census tracts. Some projects offer voucher-based services that do not directly track the physical location where sheltered people experiencing homelessness may stay. For example, the Los Angeles County Department of Public and Social Services (DPSS) CalWORKs voucher program provides emergency motel vouchers for families that qualify. Families may choose from a variety of motels to stay for several nights. For this project, LAHSA assigns sheltered families to the DPSS Department Office that issues the voucher.
  • For the purpose of estimating counts for opt-in communities, domestic violence (DV) shelters are not included. DV shelters do not disclose their location to ensure the safety and confidentiality of their clients.