LAHSA Executive Director Heidi Marston Addresses the 2022 Homeless Count Postponement
To my fellow Angelenos,
Earlier today, I announced the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is postponing the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count to February 22–24, 2022.
While we work to ensure an accurate Homeless Count, we cannot ignore the surging number of positive COVID-19 cases across our region. 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.
Even 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
- Moving training sessions online to minimize the time volunteers spend at the deployment sites; COVID safety instructions are included in the training
- Encouraging all volunteers to sign up as a “safety bubble” of two to three people and arrive at the deployment sites together to minimize cross-group interactions
- Requiring all volunteers to use masks
- Encouraging all volunteers to be vaccinated
Even with these precautions, LAHSA understood that the ongoing pandemic might make volunteers feel uncomfortable with counting their unhoused neighbors. To ensure the most accurate count possible, LAHSA requested the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) permission to hold the Homeless Count in late February. HUD recently granted our request.
The Homeless Count will proceed in February as follows:
- February 22, 2022: San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys
- February 23, 2022: West Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, & the South Bay
- February 24, 2022: Antelope Valley, Metro Los Angeles, and South Los Angeles
LAHSA has 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. LAHSA will continue to improve upon and implement policies and practices that limit the amount of in-person contact during the Homeless Count.
The Homeless Count is an essential tool that helps us provide an accurate picture of homelessness in Los Angeles and deliver services where they are most needed. This decision helps us to ensure the accuracy of the Homeless Count without putting the health and safety of our clients, volunteers, and community at risk.
If you have already signed up to volunteer for the Homeless Count, we will send you an email that will ask you to reconfirm your commitment to volunteer on the new date for your deployment site.
We still need volunteers to count in February. Please continue to encourage potential volunteers to visit theycountwillyou.org for more information and register.
Thank you for your continued commitment to ending homelessness in Los Angeles. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.