FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2020
Contact: Ahmad Chapman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 213-247-5726
HUD Exempts Los Angeles from 2021 Unsheltered Point-In-Time Count
LOS ANGELES– The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has exempted the Los Angeles Continuum of Care from conducting a 2021 Unsheltered Point-In-Time (PIT) Count.
While the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) typically conducts PIT counts annually, HUD requires continuums of care to conduct these counts every other year. As a result, HUD would have expected 2021 PIT Count data from LAHSA.
After listening to community partners, receiving guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and taking into account curfews and stay-at-home orders across the region, LAHSA determined that there is no safe way to gather the 8,000 volunteers necessary to conduct the 2021 PIT Count and collect data as accurately as it has done in previous years.
“Since the pandemic first came to our region, LAHSA has put the health and safety of our clients, volunteers, and community first. We did not come to this decision easily, but it is the safe one, and the right one,” LAHSA Executive Director Heidi Marston said.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented many obstacles to conducting a safe and accurate PIT Count, including:
The safety and well-being of staff, community partners, and volunteers is of concern. In addition, because our unsheltered population is being infected at a lower rate, bringing more people into their areas may add unnecessary risk.
The State of California and Los Angeles County has released a new public health stay-at-home order, including an overnight curfew regarding non-essential activities due to increased infection rates, limiting our ability to conduct a nighttime count.
Due to limited planning time, our ability to recruit volunteers and partner staff have been hampered.
Meeting public health requirements, including acquiring personal protective equipment as recommended by HUD, would be difficult, especially given the increased need for PPE seen by healthcare operators and homeless service providers during this latest surge.
Feedback from community partners and volunteers regarding resources and capacity indicates that the community does not have the bandwidth to support an unsheltered count. This feedback was received via surveys sent to service providers, municipalities, volunteers, the Homeless Count Advisory Board, the Los Angeles Continuum of Care Board, lived experience advisory groups, regional homeless coalitions, and councils of governments.
We are concerned that the accuracy of a 2021 unsheltered count would not be comparable to past and future unsheltered counts given these impediments.
While LAHSA will not conduct a 2021 PIT Count, it will proceed with its sheltered PIT count and Housing Inventory Count.
While the 2021 PIT Count would typically have affected funding, LAHSA is working with the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative to maintain the current Measure H funding level. For federal funding, HUD will continue to fund renewals, pending upcoming Congressional action.