Three nights and thousands of homeless to be counted on L.A. County's streets
Some Excerpts:"In teams of two to four, volunteers will walk the streets looking for homeless individuals as well as signs of encampments — a makeshift tent, a vehicle with something covering the windows, maybe an item of clothing. Volunteer counters don't knock on windows or peer under tent flaps. They don't talk to the people they find; they record only what they see. They are trained before they go out and are encouraged to stop if they feel unsafe. In some areas, an undercover law enforcement officer may be assigned to a team....
On the nights of the count, officials will also take a tally of people staying at shelters. And, importantly, they will send professional outreach workers into the streets over several weeks — starting Tuesday — to interview more than 4,000 homeless people and compile demographic data on them...This year, outreach workers will ask a wide range of questions that go well beyond age and ethnicity and include everything from gender identity to disabilities and medical conditions. Homeless people will be asked whether they were victims of domestic violence or whether they've served time in prison. If they're veterans, what wars did they fight in? What government services or benefits do they receive? Have they been denied a shelter bed and if so, why? How did they lose their housing?
n recent years, the count has shown that while the overall number of homeless hasn't changed much — in 2013 the total number counted on the streets and in shelters was 39,463 — there have been significant demographic changes. Family homelessness was down between 2011 and 2013. So was veteran homelessness, apparently thanks to hard work by non-profits, the county and the federal government. When homeless authority officials noticed in the last count that more homeless youths than expected were found in the Antelope Valley and South L.A., they worked on finding service providers with expertise in dealing with young people who could go to those areas.
YOU MAY NOT WANT TO BE COUNTED, recorded as homeless, because your name will become part of a public record. Maybe, if you aren't asking anyone for any help, or if you've reached out for help and not gotten any, you would rather have your privacy.
ONE THING WE KNOW FOR SURE IS THAT THE COUNT WILL NOT BE ACCURATE. THERE ARE MANY HIDDEN HOMELESS!
BASED ON PREVIOUS COUNTS, LOS ANGELES HAS THE HIGHEST HOMELESS POPULATION IN THE COUNTRY OTHER THAN NEW YORK CITY.
THERE ARE AND HAVE BEEN THOUSANDS WHO WILL NOT GET HELP, DESPITE SUCH COUNTS.
SPECIFICALLY, THEY WILL NOT GET INTO DECENT SHELTERS OR INTO LOW INCOME HOUSING. THERE HASN'T BEEN ENOUGH SHELTERS OR LOW INCOME HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES FOR YEARS HERE so it may not matter how many thousands are (still) on the streets, in vehicles, on sofas, on floors, camping in the mountains, etc.
HOMELESS SINGLE WOMEN WITH CHILDREN have the greatest chance of finding shelter and governmental help.
SINGLE PEOPLE, if not senior citizens, have the WORST CHANCE. Many shelters will not even take single people. And if you are not religious or not Christian, and you don't want to be preached to and "converted" you have very little chance of finding a shelter to take you.
EVEN THE ONES WHO SAY THEY DO NOT DO THIS DO. They take government funds, sponsor Bible Studies, and tend to favor those who are "believers" which to us, is reality, and stinks.