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The Chamber and City Hall are searching for 200 and 250 volunteers to help count the city’s homeless on Jan. 25, 2012.
The Chamber and City Hall are searching for 200 and 250 volunteers to help count the city’s homeless on Jan. 25, 2012.

News, City Council, Chamber Of Commerce, Santa Monica, Homelessness

Santa Monica Homeless Count Preparation Begins

Posted Dec. 4, 2011, 1:12 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

With 2012 weeks away, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and City Hall’s Human Services Division are teaming up for the annual Homeless Count. To take place on Jan. 25, both the Chamber and City Hall are searching for volunteers to foot across the city and tally up the number of homeless individuals living in the city.

City Hall is required to conduct homeless counts every odd year in order to receive federal funding for homelessness programs from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However, the City of Santa Monica conducts the count annually to more accurately track the changes in homelessness and evaluate the success of local efforts.

In a meeting of the Chamber’s Homelessness Committee on Nov. 14 at Chamber headquarters, Human Services’ Natasha Guest outlined how the annual homeless count worked and how City Hall would execute the data collection event in January.

According to City Hall, there was no change in the number of homeless living in Santa Monica in 2011 when compared to 2010.

However, a two-year comparison of homeless data shows a 19 percent drop in homelessness in Santa Monica, City Hall reports.

The Homeless Count has also “helped more than 100 Santa Monica residents avoid homelessness,” the city points out.

“The count helps us track our data,” Guest said. “We can’t address a problem unless we have data to inform our policy.”

Guest said that Los Angeles County has about 50,000 homeless people.

“That’s people living without proper habitation,” she said, adding people who live in emergency housing, transitional housing, in their car, or on the streets are all considered homeless.

While the numbers are much smaller in Santa Monica, Guest pointed out the city needs between 200 and 250 volunteers to help count the city’s homeless, be it in a shelter or on the streets.

The Chamber has been active in promoting the homeless count and urging the Santa Monica business community to actively take part in the annual event.

“The Chamber’s Homelessness Committee not only encourages Homeless Count participation, but also sustained community engagement,” said Brian Chase, the Chamber’s Director of Government Affairs.

As part of its Business Cares program, the Chamber’s Homelessness Committee not only connects local business with social service providers, but also specifically looks to bring in as many volunteers as possible when it comes to the annual homeless count.

“The Santa Monica Chamber has been a proud partner of the homeless count for several years now,” Chase said. “In helping recruit volunteers, we extend this opportunity to the business community as an excellent way to connect employees with one of Santa Monica’s most important community service events.”

The Jan. 25 homeless count will begin at 10:30 p.m.

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Dec. 4, 2011, 3:46:41 pm

Michael Frahn said...

I hope this being done through volunteer work. what a waste of money. we already know there are too many. santa monica keeping feeding them though... thats the way not to attract more!

Dec. 4, 2011, 7:17:33 pm

noelle mcguinness said...

Please count me as a volunteer. Here is also my # 310-795-9992 Thank you.

Dec. 4, 2011, 11:16:02 pm

wayne said...

What if we counted a few more than there were? So we could get a good amount of funding to people who truly need it? Tis the season... to have a heart. And help those whose situations we are lucky to not be in.

Dec. 6, 2011, 12:57:44 am

Diori said...

I don't know if it's about fundings or another issue but what the City Hall is saying in this article it's not accurate. I work for years close to Third Street Promenade. Not only we have more homeless around, they are becoming more aggressive. We have problems with shoplifting all around the area. LAst month, at least two people they work in retail were attacked by some homeless inside of their stores. The SM police knows very well what's going on in there. The homeless in SM they are MENTALLY UNSTABLE people. This is a very serious situation that business they have to deal every day. Last monday I invited to dinner two foreign friends they were on vacation for the first time in LA. We went to a fish restaurant in SM. When we were finishing our dinner INSIDE of the restaurant, a homeless man came up to our table demanding money. We were fortunate that the waitress took care of that uncomfortable situation right away. After we left we were walking to our car and again, another unstable homeless started yelling obscenities at us. My friends they were shocked and scared. Why we have to live like this? The City of SM they should start COUNTING how many business and people they feel threatened by the mentally ill homeless we have in here. Why in Beverly Hills they don't have this problem?

Dec. 5, 2011, 8:39:27 am

Paula Davis said...

Please contact me so I can join the homeless counting in Santa Monica.

Dec. 5, 2011, 8:42:17 am

Paula Davis said...

I have submittted my name

Dec. 5, 2011, 8:45:38 am

Paula Davis said...

Please correct my phone # = it is 310-403-8863

Dec. 6, 2011, 8:42:19 pm

Allure said...

Nice picture …The City of SM can make a postcard for the tourists to remember a very expensive and top city of USA. Sorry to be so sarcastic.

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