March 2017 Newsletter

PPTFH Homeless Count 2017
Homeless Count 2017

Toward the end of January, the Palisades conducted a third annual Count to estimate how many homeless people currently were living on its streets, in parklands and other open areas, or else sleeping in vehicles. This effort is the basis on which the federal government (HUD) will provide funding for housing the chronically homeless. The Count is sponsored by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

Once again, volunteers in Pacific Palisades signed up to take part in this effort. Before dawn, while most people, including the homeless, were still asleep, 45 Palisadians in warm coats and hats came into PaliHigh’s Mercer Hall to get instructions, plus fortifying coffee, bagels, and fruit. They would soon go forth to count clearly homeless individuals, whether prone or upright. They would also record the number of tents, other makeshift shelters, and vehicles probably being slept in.

Around 6 a.m. nine teams headed for different parts of town: streets and parks, but also beaches and the bluff and hillside areas where the homeless camp out and may persistently reside. Other volunteers at Mercer Hall headquarters would handle questions coming in from cellphones and prepare to record the field report figures.

We were pleased and relieved when totaling up our volunteers’ reports showed that the Homeless Count here was about 50% lower this year than in the 2015 and 2016 counts. Probably the cold and wet weather in fall and winter somewhat reduced those numbers. But certainly this lowered count is mainly due to the excellent work done last year by a balanced effort between OPCC’s Outreach Team and the enforcement work of the City’s Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Park Rangers.

Our notable record of success, including the evidence coming from this recent Homeless Count, greatly encourages us not only to continue on with the hard work we’ve been doing, but also to expand it in much-needed ways. Our important new focus is on providing move-in assistance (with both useful household goods and required rent deposits) to people we’ve helped to remove from the ranks of the homeless when they were temporarily making Pacific Palisades their outdoor home.

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