LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Thousands of volunteers were ready to hit the streets Tuesday for the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count.
The three-day count to determine how many people are living without homes is organized by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and is required by the federal government to be done every to year. LAHSA went to an annual count starting last year.
The count helps local and federal authorities determine funding levels for homeless initiatives and coincides with several steps by the city and county to fight the homeless problem.
Last year’s count, when more than 7,500 volunteers participated, found that the homeless population increased 5.7 percent from 2015 to reach 46,874.
In Riverside County, officials are seeking volunteers in the Coachella Valley.
Counts in the following cities are open to public volunteers:
— Cathedral City, at the Cathedral City Police Department, 68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero
— Coachella, Coachella City Hall, 1515 6th Street
— Desert Hot Springs, DHS Family Resource Center, 14201 Palm Drive, Ste. 108
— Indio, Martha’s Village & Kitchen, 83791 Date Avenue
— Palm Springs, Palm Springs Police Department Training Center, 200 S. Civic Drive.
Volunteers will survey local homeless to determine whether they belong to any of nine subpopulations, including the chronically homeless, chronically homeless families, people with HIV/AIDS, people with mental illness, substance abusers, unaccompanied youth under the age of 18, veterans, victims of domestic violence and youth between the ages of 18 and 24.
The county’s 2016 survey showed a 12 percent decrease compared to the previous year, with 2,165 adults and children accounted for, according to county officials. Despite the countywide decrease, officials found that the homeless populations increased in the eastern county cities of Desert Hot Springs, Coachella, Palm Desert, and Blythe, as well as the western county cities of Corona, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Norco, Perris, San Jacinto and Wildomar.
All volunteers must complete a mandatory two-hour training session prior to the count.
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