LAHSA count to take place February 23 for Westside
By Sam Catanzaro
On Friday, 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 the current COVID-19 Omicron variant surge in Los Angeles County as the reason for the postponement of the count, which was initially supposed to take place at the end of January.
The Homeless Count will now conducted over three nights in different parts of the region:
February 22: San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys;
February 23: West Los Angeles (including Santa Monica), Southeast Los Angeles, and the South Bay
February 24: Antelope Valley, Metro Los Angeles, and South Los Angeles
“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.”
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. In addition, training sessions were moved online.
LAHSA has also 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,” the agency said.
Last year, the count could not be conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.