LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), along with volunteers, began this year’s homeless count Tuesday night.

According to local leaders, the count is essential to understanding the scope of the area’s homeless crisis and to securing federal funding.

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Volunteers will canvas more than 80 cities and 200 communities across Los Angeles County between Tuesday and Thursday.

They planned on focusing on the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, before expanding to West L.A., Southeast L.A., and the South Bay on Wednesday and Antelope Valley, Metro L.A., and South L.A. on Thursday.

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Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order calling for $1.4 billion in funding to address California’s homeless problem.

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“Gov. Newsom has been a champion on this issue throughout his career, and with this executive order he’s making an even bigger investment in confronting the homelessness crisis,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

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The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County surged by 12 percent in 2019 to nearly 59,000 living on the streets, according to data released last summer.