CULVER CITY — The Culver City Homeless Committee is seeking volunteers for the 2016 Homeless Count, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27, based at the Culver City Senior Center, 4095 Overland Ave.
There will be refreshments and food items from local Culver City vendors, with a brief training for volunteers at 7:30 p.m., said Deborah Wallace, vice chair of the Culver City Homeless Committee.
Volunteers will then be sent to their precinct for the count, which will take place from 8 to 9 p.m. Volunteers will start to return at 10 p.m.
The Homeless Count is being conducted in coordination with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which, beginning this year, will conduct the count annually. Previously it was every two years.
“The Culver City Homeless Count is now yearly due to the increase of homeless people. I personally have noticed an increase in women over the age of 60. In interviewing a few of these elderly ladies I was told that they come to Culver City because they feel safe,” Wallace said.
Culver City Mayor Micheál O’Leary encourages community participation in the Culver City Homeless Count and said, “It’s very important for us to have an understanding of the number of homeless people who need services in our community.
“My heart goes out to those who are living on our streets, especially during these cold, wet winter months. I appreciate the efforts of the volunteer-led Homelessness Committee and all participants in the 2016 Homeless Count.”
Ira Diamond, the committee’s chair, added, “The count is performed through the efforts of volunteer teams. The committee will coordinate volunteers on the night of the count, so if you come as a team of four, you can go out with your own group.
“Businesses, volunteer clubs, faith-based groups, and families and friends are encouraged to form groups of four and join us. Individuals are also welcome, as we’ll pair them up with others to form a group of four,” Diamond added.
All cities on the west side of Los Angeles County will conduct the count the same night to avoid duplication of individuals counted in neighboring cities, he said.
The numbers generated by the count are statistically analyzed to estimate the number of homeless individuals in a broader area. Since it is not possible to locate every homeless person, each individual that is found “counts” as more than one person for purposes of statistical analysis.
Based on the data collected, the county, state and federal government review the results to determine resource allocations to Culver City for housing and homelessness assistance programs, Diamond said.
The Homeless Count is critical because it leads to the distribution of resources for those in need by determining the need of each locality, he added.
On the night of the count, volunteers either walk or drive through their assigned precinct and tally the homeless individuals they observe. Direct contact with persons observed is not made by count volunteers. However, based upon count data, homeless service professionals will be dispatched to assess the situation and offer information and resources.
All volunteers will be trained in safety and tallying procedures prior to the count, Diamond said.
Culver City is in Service Program Area 5.
Information: Tevis Barnes, Culver City’s housing administrator, at (310) 253-5782.