The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) Homeless Services Division is encouraging community volunteers to participate in counting the homeless persons in Long Beach on Thursday, January 29. Taking two to three hours out of your day to assist will help the City better determine its resources, weaknesses and strengths in defining its picture of homelessness.
The biennial Homeless Count, required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will help define the scope of homelessness, both in the community and nationwide, and assist in determining existing resources, identifying gaps and highlighting any progress made toward ending homelessness.
"The Homeless Count is an extremely important part of the services we provide to combat homelessness and support our most vulnerable residents," said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. "Participating in the Homeless Count is a great opportunity for people to perform a community service and learn about the issue of homelessness."
The Long BeachHealth Department Homeless Services Division conducts the count. It is the lead agency for the Long Beach Continuum of Care, a local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals.
Previous Homeless Counts from 2007 and 2013 have documented that the number of homeless or formerly homeless people taken off the street and placed in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing has increased 50 percent, from 1,679 to 2,508.
This year, the Homeless Count will include an intensive outreach to homeless veterans, in an effort to immediately link veterans to services, benefits and housing on the day of the count. This additional mobilization is part of the National Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015.
The Homeless Count process involves two distinct activities. The first is a residential-based count of all people living in emergency and transitional housing programs within Long Beach. The second activity is the street count component, where the City of Long Beach is divided into 47 GIS mapped segments. Teams of three to five individuals, comprised of community volunteers, service providers, and homeless program participants will canvass each specific segment to count and survey homeless people in each area. Each map segment takes approximately two and three hours to complete.
On Thursday, January 29, teams will be assigned and deployed between 5:00AM and 9:00AM from the Multi-Service Center, located at 1301 W. 12th Street, in Long Beach.
Volunteers can assist in a variety of ways, from donating food to count volunteers to canvassing a map segment with a team.
- Community Outreach: Recruit volunteers for the count and get the word out through distributing flyers and utilizing social media platforms. Host donation drives to collect items such as socks, travel-size hygiene products and pre-packaged snacks.
- Donations: donate food for breakfast and lunch for count volunteers.
- Multi-Service Center Volunteer: Assist at the Multi-Service Center headquarters the day of the count to assist, organize and coordinate count volunteers.
- Street Outreach: Canvas one of 47 map segments with a team of three to five people (led by homeless services provider staff) to complete surveys and provide resource information to those experiencing homelessness.
One-hour orientations for volunteers will be hosted at the Multi-Service Center. Volunteers only need to attend one of the following orientation dates to volunteer.
Tuesday, January 13, at 1 pm and at 6:00PM
Wednesday, January 14, at 1 pm and at 6:00PM
Thursday, January 15, at 1 pm and at 6:00PM
You can download the Volunteer Form and Homeless Count Flyer here and submit completed volunteer forms via fax to (562) 570-4066.
The Long Beach Continuum of Care is responsible for managing and tracking the homeless systems of care in the community, including the monitoring and analysis of local homeless population data through the Homeless Management Information System and biennial homeless counts.