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LAHSA Announces 2022 Point-in-Time Homeless Count Postponement
The annual census of people experiencing homelessness will take place from February 22-24.
Los Angeles – Today, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) announced the postponement of the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Point-in-Time (PIT) Homeless Count to February 22-24, 2022. LAHSA cited protecting the health and safety of its volunteers, staff, and people experiencing homelessness as the reason for the delay, in light of the current COVID-19 Omicron variant surge in Los Angeles County.
The Homeless Count will still be conducted over three nights in different parts of the region:
- February 22, 2022: San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys
- February 23, 2022: West Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, and the South Bay
- February 24, 2022: Antelope Valley, Metro Los Angeles, and South Los Angeles
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which requires Continuums of Care to conduct PIT Counts as a means of determining federal funding to address homelessness, approved the postponement.
“While we work to ensure an accurate Homeless Count, we cannot ignore the surging number of positive COVID-19 cases across our region,” said LAHSA Executive Director Heidi Marston. “Even with safety precautions such as moving training online, developing outdoor deployment sites, and keeping households together, moving forward with a count in January places our unhoused neighbors, volunteers, staff, and the accuracy of the Count at risk.”
Even before the Omicron variant led to a surge, LAHSA made several anticipated design changes to the 2022 Homeless Count to limit COVID-19 transmission, including:
- Moving most deployment sites outdoors— at many sites, volunteers will not leave their cars to pick up their count packets
- Moving training sessions online to minimize the time volunteers spend at the deployment sites; COVID safety instructions are included in the training
- Encouraging all volunteers to sign up as a “safety bubble” of two to three people and arrive at the deployment sites together to minimize cross-group interactions
- Requiring all volunteers to use masks
- Encouraging all volunteers to be vaccinated
LAHSA has partnered with Akido Labs to develop a mobile app that uploads data collected to a central server instead of returning paper sheets to local sites for manual tallying. Using the new app will improve data gathering and quality assurance processes while limiting the number of in-person contact volunteers have with Homeless Count staff. LAHSA will continue to improve upon and implement policies and practices that limit the amount of in-person contact during the Homeless Count.
“The Homeless Count is an essential tool in giving us a point-in-time snapshot of homelessness. Data from the Count is used to inform the delivery of services and programs for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles,” continued Marston. “This decision is our best path to ensure the accuracy of the Homeless Count without putting the health and safety of persons experiencing homelessness, volunteers, and the community at risk.”
Since 2016, the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, overseen by LAHSA, has conducted the Greater Los Angeles Homeless PIT Count annually to gain a better understanding of homelessness across the County and to support applications for federal funding. HUD requires that all communities conduct a census of people experiencing homelessness every other year.
Last year, the Homeless Count’s main component, the unsheltered street count, could not be conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The availability of vaccinations enabled the resumption of the Homeless Count for 2022 with appropriate precautions.
In 2020, the last time the Count could safely be conducted, 66,436 people were found to be living on the street in tents, makeshift dwellings, and vehicles across Los Angeles County.
LAHSA continues to seek volunteers to count in February. Those interested can visit theycountwillyou.org for more information and register.
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