January 26, 2022 date for annual count
By Sam Catanzaro
The Santa Monica Homeless Count is back after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.
This year’s event is set for January 26, 2022. According to the City, the count will be modified with COVID-19 safety best practices in place.
Santa Monica community members who are interested in volunteering on January 26, can now register a santamonica.gov/santa-monica-homeless-count.
There will be a number of changes in place this year. Training will be done virtually by video in advance of January 26. In addition, officals are asking volunteers to pre-form their own teams of 3-4 from their pod. Volunteers serving on an individual basis will be paired with others and will be required to drive to count locations separately from the deployment site. In addition, count materials will be provided through a drive-up-style format at a location to be shared soon.
“The Homeless Count has long been one of my favorite evenings of the year because of the outpouring of support to address our daunting challenge as a city and as a society,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “Thank you to the hundreds of people who will step up to join the count and, to everyone in our community, I implore each of you to find ways to actively contribute to our efforts to address homelessness and to learn about the ways our City is driving change to help people find the assistance they need.”
The Homeless Count is a point-in-time census of the homeless population overseen regionally by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) as a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The 2020 homeless count was canceled due to the pandemic. The 2019 Santa Monica Homeless Count, showed that homeless levels across the city remained stagnant, with methamphetamine rising among the city’s homeless population. According to the results of the 2019 count, the total number of people experiencing homelessness increased by three percent from 957 to 987. According to the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD), between 2014-2018 possession of methamphetamine increased by 152 percent across all populations. In 2018, people experiencing homelessness represented 69 percent of possession of methamphetamine dispositions. In addition, the 2019 count showed an increase in the homeless population on Santa Monica’s beaches.