LOS ANGELES – As the 2024 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count began Tuesday, Los Angeles leaders gathered to emphasize the importance of working together to reduce and eventually end homelessness in LA County. The Count provides an opportunity to reflect on the life-saving impact of our collective investments, the challenges we continue to tackle together, and the humanity of the homelessness crisis.
The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is invaluable for understanding the scope and nature of homelessness in Los Angeles County. It is the largest-scale point-in-time homeless count in the United States, as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for continuums of care across the country.
LAHSA CEO Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum was joined by LA County Board of Supervisors Chair and LAHSA Commission Chair Lindsey Horvath and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass to recognize the significance of the Homeless Count and to encourage Angelenos to volunteer on Wednesday and Thursday for the 2nd and 3rd night of the count.
“LAHSA is proud to lead the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, which is an important tool in helping us understand homelessness in the region,” Dr. Adams Kellum said. “Together, we’re making significant enhancements to our rehousing system, and this regional snapshot will guide policy decisions that make those changes possible.”
Mayor Bass echoed Dr. Adams Kellum’s sentiment, praising the collaboration that’s already taken place and more that she expects to happen in 2024 and beyond.
“The Point-in-Time Count is an important tool to confront the homelessness crisis,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “Homelessness is an emergency, and it will take all of us working together to confront this emergency. With COVID back rent due at the end of the month, we have to ensure that we are doing everything we can to house Angelenos and also prevent Angelenos from falling into homelessness.”
“Across Los Angeles County, we come together each January in an essential effort to understand the scope of homelessness in our community,” said Los Angeles County Board and LAHSA Chair Lindsey P. Horvath. “The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is only possible thanks to thousands of volunteers who come together to compassionately support every person in need of a safe place to call home.”
Other speakers at Tuesday’s news conference kicking off the Homeless Count included LA County Supervisor and LAHSA Commission member Kathryn Barger, LA City Council President Paul Krekorian, LA City Councilwoman Nithya Raman, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Region IX Administrator Jason Pu, Chief Lourdes Castro Ramirez from the Mayor’s Office, USICH Senior Regional Advisor Helene Schneider, and Shawn Pleasants, co-chair of LAHSA’s Lived Experience Advisory Board.
“The information we gather during the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count helps our County provide life-changing shelter, services, and supportive housing to people experiencing homelessness,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “I’m thankful to all the community members and organizations who are doing their part to help their neighbors in need by ensuring every person possible is counted.”
“No amount of urgency is enough to end homelessness without money from the federal government. An accurate count of who is living on our City and County streets allows us to secure every dollar that we need to address this crisis,” said Councilmember Nithya Raman. “As we kick-off the first night of this year’s Homeless Count, I want to extend my gratitude to the thousands of volunteers taking the time to join us in this critical effort.”
“The Point-in-Time Count helps the federal government measure local trends so we can better target federal funding and resources to meet each community’s unique needs. Like air, water, and food, housing is a basic need—and this annual count is critical to our efforts to build a country where every person has a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Helene Schneider the Senior Regional Advisor for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
LAHSA made key enhancements to the Count in 2023 that it has continued to build on for 2024: improving the quality assurance process with a LAHSA staff member at each deployment site to ensure accuracy in count numbers, refining the ArcGis QuickCapture app to be a more effective and user-friendly digital counting tool, and utilizing the skills of a demographer and data scientist who will continue to optimize the count analysis.
The volunteer experience has also been improved, with a new hub resource page with information to help volunteers prepare in advance, streamlined check-in and check-out processes, improved real-time dashboard tracking to verify if a census tract is complete or needs to be revisited by LAHSA staff, enhanced location data tracking through the app to ensure counts are completed, and LAHSA is piloting an app-based “geofencing” feature that will alert volunteers if they go outside of their assigned census tract.
Last year, we saw a 9% rise in homelessness on any given night in Los Angeles County to an estimated 75,518 people, and a 10% rise in the City of Los Angeles to an estimated 46,260 people.
There are still two more nights left of the 2024 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. Tomorrow, we’ll be counting in West Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, and the South Bay/Harbor, and on Thursday we’ll be counting in Antelope Valley (morning), Metro Los Angeles, and South Los Angeles. If you’d like to volunteer, you can find the nearest deployment site and register at https://www.theycountwillyou.org/.