Herald American The Press

Area cities prepare for homeless count

HUNTINGTON PARK — The city will join other communities in Los Angeles County in counting the homeless Jan. 26-28. South Gate signed on last month and Downey did the same on Dec. 8.

The City Council here approved a memorandum of understanding Dec. 1 with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for the count, which is now conducted annually because of an increase in the homeless problem.

County officials use the count to determine the number of homeless in the area to seek federal funding to serve them.

City Manager Edgar Cisneros said the agreement calls for Huntington Park to designate facilities at Salt Lake Park, 3401 E. Florence Ave., Jan. 26 as the base for volunteer counters.

Cisneros said he will immediately seek up to 58 volunteers for the count.

The Huntington Park Recreation Department will oversee the deployment center, where volunteers will gather, be assigned an area to search and report back.

Cisneros said two part-time recreation staffers will be assigned from 11 p.m. Jan. 26 to 3 a.m. Jan 27 to assist in management of the center with an added cost of $136 to the city.

Volunteers from 14 to 18 must have written permission from a parent or guardian to participate.

The city will be required to post an unarmed security guard or police officer at the deployment center.

Teams of two volunteers will be sent to each of the city’s 18 census tracts. Four teams will drive and count from cars, the rest will count from on foot,

Paul Adams, South Gate’s interim director of community development, said his city will be required to designate a base for the count (last year in was in South Gate Park), and provide a police officer or security guard for the eight-hour operation. Estimated cost is $565.75 for the security.

Training staff and team leaders are volunteers, he added.

Location of the count in South Gate is the last week of January, when some 75 volunteers are expected to work out of the city’s Margaret Travis Senior Center, Adams said.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is a joint powers organization formed in 1993 by Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles to address the homeless problem.

All cities in Los Angeles County are expected to take part again except for Glendale and Long Beach, which conduct their own count, Adams said. South Gate joined the count in 2011.

The count will include those living on the street and those in sheltered locations such as vehicles, homeless shelters, motels and homes of friends and relatives.