2021 Homeless Count Canceled

The Los Angeles County 2021 Homeless Count, which would normally take place in the last week of January, was canceled by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority due to the convid-19 pandemic. The January 2020 point in time count, the previous year, found 66,436 individuals experiencing homelessness in the county, of whom, 28,852 were in the city of Los Angeles. 9,543 of those were located in Service Planning Area 6 - South Los Angeles including Compton, Paramount, and Lynwood.

The decision to cancel was weighed for several months. More than 8,000 volunteers took part in the January 2020 count. (Long Beach, Pasadena, and Glendale conduct their own count separate from the LAHSA countywide effort). Every census tract was covered. Most teams went out by car, with three or four volunteers in each car. At minimum there was one driver, one navigator with a map, and one spotter who recorded the sightings. In discussions over last fall, LAHSA considered having two persons per car, and seeking as many pairs as possible who lived in the same household to minimize exposure to the virus. In the end it was not reasonable to expect a sufficient number of volunteers with this restriction, as well as the exposure of the groups assembling at dispatch locations to get their maps and returning there to turn in their findings.

It is almost certain that the number of homeless persons in the county has increased in the last year as a result of people losing their jobs or being evicted from their housing due to the covid virus. The annual count is required by the federal Housing and Urban Development agency and is used to set funding allocations for particular cities and communities. It is not yet known whether HUD will waive this requirement or how it will set funding amounts for the coming year.