City Seeks Community Volunteers to Participate in Citywide Count of Homeless Persons

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Community volunteers are encouraged to participate in the count of homeless persons in Long Beach on Thursday, January 29, 2015. The biennial Homeless Count, required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), defines the scope of homelessness, both in the community and across the nation, and helps to determine existing resources, identify gaps, and highlight progress 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. “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 Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health 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 have documented that from 2007 to 2013, the number of homeless/formerly homeless people off the street and in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing has increased 50 percent, from 1,679 to 2508.

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 canvass each specific segment to count and survey homeless people in each area. Each map segment takes between two and three hours to canvass.

On Thursday, January 29, teams will be assigned and deployed between 5 am and 9 am from the Multi-Service Center, located at 1301 W. 12th Street, in Long Beach.

Volunteers can assist in various ways:

Community Outreach: Recruit volunteers for the count and get the word out through flyers and social media. Host donation drives to collect items such as socks, travel size hygiene products and pre-packaged snacks.

Food donations 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 need only attend one of the following orientation dates:

  • Tuesday, January 13, at 1 pm and at 6 pm
  • Wednesday, January 14, at 1 pm and at 6 pm
  • Thursday, January 15, at 1 pm and at 6 pm

Download the Volunteer Form and Homeless Count Flyer at http://bit.ly/2015LBCount 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.

For additional information about Homeless Count, please contact Elsa Ramos, Multi-Service Center Coordinator, at Elsa.Ramos@longbeach.gov or 562.570.4588.

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