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Following a delay that shuttered last year’s event, Los Angeles County will conduct its annual count of the region’s homeless population beginning Tuesday, at a time when the issue is one of the biggest priorities for elected officials and a major concern for residents and business owners.
Thousands of volunteers will fan out across the county over three nights for the “point-in-time” count, which will give an indication of how many people remain unhoused and where resources and millions of dollars in state and federal funds should be distributed to address the crisis.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) canceled last year’s event and delayed it last month after a surge of COVID-19 cases spurred by the Delta and Omicron variants.
Homeless encampments line the boardwalk on Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Residents and business owners have said the encampments have led to an uptick in crime and other quality of life issues. Beginning Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) will conduct its annual point-in-time count to get a number of how many people remain unhoused in the region.
“The Homeless Count is an essential tool in giving us a point-in-time snapshot of homelessness,” LAHSA Executive Director Heidi Marston said in a January news release announcing the delay of the count. “Data from the Count is used to inform the delivery of services and programs for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.”
Fox News has reached out to the agency and the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.
Volunteers will spend the first night of the count in the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, located east and north of downtown Los Angeles, respectively. The second night will take them to west and southeast Los Angeles and southeast Los Angeles County.
The third will be spent in south Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley, in the northern part of the county.
It will be the first year the count is done electronically. The agency will use a mobile app to upload the data to a central server in lieu of returning with paper sheets to be counted.
The results are expected to be released sometime in May or June.
Homelessness has become a pressing issue in and around Los Angeles as local leaders continue to feel pressure to address the matter in an election year. In 2020, the last time a count was conducted, LAHSA found 66,436 people to be living in, unoccupied dwellings, vehicles and tents vehicles across the county.
Some parts of the county have seen the homeless crisis explode. In Venice Beach, residents and business owners previously told Fox News they had been assaulted, robbed and one woman lost a dog who died in a fire related to a nearby homeless encampment. In one case, a homeless advocate who documents those living on the streets was attacked by a homeless person near the beach.
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Some encampments have seen killings, assaults, arson, stabbings and other crimes near heavily pulsated areas.
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