LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), along with elected officials, community leaders, and volunteers, kicked off the 2023 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. After tonight’s press conference, several leaders joined volunteers in starting the three-day process of counting people experiencing unsheltered homelessness throughout Los Angeles County.
The annual Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count includes the Unsheltered Count, Youth Count, and Housing Inventory Count (a census of people living in interim and permanent supportive housing). LAHSA is conducting the Youth Count from January 21 through 31 and the Housing Inventory Count on January 25. The Unsheltered Count data is combined with data on the demographics of youth experiencing homelessness and shelter data to create an annual regional point-in-time estimate of people experiencing homelessness.
“The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is an essential resource for understanding the scope and nature of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA continues to refine and improve our approach to create a more accurate estimate with greater stakeholder involvement,” said Stephen David Simon, Interim Executive Director of LAHSA. “Given the current crisis on our streets, accuracy and transparency regarding our unhoused neighbors are of the utmost importance to LAHSA and our partners.”
For the 2023 Homeless Count, LAHSA is taking lessons learned from last year and best practices from previous years to improve deployment sites, training, and digital tools, including:
- Introducing a new tally app from Esri, a company with years of experience building tally apps for homeless counts across the country
- Returning to in-person volunteer training to ensure more volunteers are fully trained on how to use the app
- Providing mobile hotspots and onsite technical assistance to help close the digital divide and ensure the accuracy of the count
"Over the next three days, thousands of dedicated volunteers will hit the streets of Los Angeles County to gather data that will drive our efforts to bring our unsheltered neighbors indoors. The time spent on this effort will make a huge difference. The data we collect this week will make it possible to address this crisis head-on with an informed and effective strategy – one designed to marshal resources, create accountability and drive results. With 40,000 Angelenos unhoused, this is an emergency that requires both unity and urgency so we can get big things done together."
LAHSA is also introducing a new quality assurance process that provides volunteers with paper maps and tally sheets in case technical issues arise with the app or mobile networks. If volunteers utilize those tools, the deployment site will record the data electronically, then photograph the map and tally sheet.
If a census tract’s data is not submitted by noon the next day, the tract will be considered uncounted, and LAHSA will deploy make-up teams to count it.
The count kicked off Tuesday night with leaders from the city and county of Los Angeles speaking about the importance of the count in gaining an accurate picture of homelessness across Los Angeles County to delivering effective programs and services to end homelessness for thousands of people experiencing homelessness. Tonight volunteers are counting in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. Volunteers in East and West Los Angeles will count on Wednesday, and the count will conclude on Thursday with the Antelope Valley, Metro, and South Los Angeles counts.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a biennial point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness. In 2016, LAHSA started holding the count annually to analyze the trends of people experiencing homelessness. This year, thousands of volunteers will spread out across 4,000 square miles to count the county’s unsheltered population from January 24-26.
Last year’s count indicated that the number of people experiencing homelessness across the county on any given night rose to an estimated 69,144, despite the rehousing system making 21,213 permanent housing placements in 2021.
The count is a critical census of the number of people experiencing homelessness on a given night and documents where unsheltered people are living. To cover 4,000 square miles over three days, we need help. There is still time to volunteer. If you are interested in helping with the count. Please sign up at www.theycountwillyou.org/volunteer