The City of Santa Clarita is seeking volunteers for the annual Los Angeles County homeless count, which is set to survey the growth of the homeless population to better provide services in the valley, officials said.
According to the results of last year’s count, the City of Santa Clarita’s homeless population increased from 156 in 2018 to 256 in 2019.
“On any given night in our country, more than half a million people are experiencing homelessness. The reasons that they end up sleeping on sidewalks, in cars or abandoned buildings are vast and varied, but inevitably were born from desperate situations and extreme hardships,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth. “In Santa Clarita, we are working to connect our neighbors experiencing homelessness with the resources and shelter they need, especially during these chilly winter months.”
In 2019, the City partnered with more than 30 local organizations to form the Homeless Task Force. The Task Force meets monthly and works to complete the action items in the Community Plan to Address Homelessness, which are set to focus on five actionable categories, including preventing homelessness, increasing income, subsidized housing, increasing affordable/homeless housing and creating local coordination, according to City officials.
One of the primary homeless service providers in the Santa Clarita Valley, Bridge to Home Shelter, raised enough funding in 2019 to go from only offering an emergency winter shelter to now providing year-round, 24/7 services. Food, bathroom facilities and clothing are offered alongside up to 60 beds available to homeless residents on a first-come, first-served basis.
Currently, the facility on Drayton Street in Saugus is made up of portable buildings, as well as portable shower and toilet facilities. Officials said they hope to build an enhanced, permanent facility that would better accommodate the needs of the community’s homeless population in the near future.
In addition to partnerships between the City and local organizations, the County of Los Angeles and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger have also assisted in efforts to better resources for homeless and transient populations in the area.
By working with local faith-based organizations, nonprofits, medical providers, school districts, Sheriff’s deputies and more, the Task Force aims to help make a true and lasting impact on homelessness in the community, according to City officials.
On Tuesday, Jan. 21, the annual homeless count is set to take place in the Santa Clarita Valley. Volunteers are scheduled to travel throughout the community to identify those who are unsheltered. The number that comes from this count is one of the many tools available for resource allocation for the coming years, officials said.
In addition to the upcoming count, officials with the 2020 Census Bureau are set to devote three days in spring to counting people who are experiencing homelessness across the country, with checks in place to ensure that people aren’t counted more than once.
These days follow months of outreach and coordination with local census offices, partners, shelter directors, service providers and others:
- March 30: Counting people who are in shelters.
- March 31: Counting people at soup kitchens and mobile food vans.
- April 1: Counting people in non-sheltered, outdoor locations, such as tent encampments and on the streets.
Since 2005, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has been coordinating the homeless count across the County of Los Angeles. The information obtained provides a snapshot of who is experiencing homelessness and where they are located. The results of the annual count give the City of Santa Clarita a starting point to measure the progress of its efforts toward ending homelessness, according to Smyth.
It also helps the amount of Measure H and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds that should be allocated to local homeless programs. The count also helps the City better coordinate local programs and services to maximize impact.
For the local count here in Santa Clarita, LAHSA is looking for 200 volunteers.
Volunteers would report to The Centre at 20880 Center Pointe Parkway, where they can go through training and orientation.
The count is expected to last about four hours, during which teams would then drive to predetermined locations to conduct a visual tally of unsheltered individuals.
“There is not one simple solution to end homelessness, but by working together, we can make progress to help those who need it most,” said Smyth.
To sign up as a volunteer for the homeless count, click here. To learn more about what the City is doing to address homelessness and read the Community Plan to address homeless needs in the Santa Clarita Valley, click here.Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to email@example.com. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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