West Hills Neighborhood Council
The 2017 West Hills Homeless CountPosted on 09/27/17
The 2017 West Hills Homeless Count
On a horribly cold night in January 2017, all of the volunteer members of the West Hills Homelessness Committee gathered at the Canoga Park Community Center to help with the annual Homeless Count.
Members joked about the cold and all were afraid it would start raining again which would make this night even worse. They set up a projector and sound system, arranged tables and chairs, put out the coffee, mini bundt cakes, water and cookies, and waited.
Then the 50-plus volunteers who signed up through the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) website to participate in the annual LAHSA Homeless Count started walking through the door. After a training video, questions were answered, teams formed, maps and equipment handed out, and those 50 plus volunteers with their clipboards hit the streets.
On that cold night, teams of three or four volunteers drove every street and alley in West Hills to count the homeless people they saw from the warmth of their cars. By 11:00 p.m., they were back. By 11:45 p.m., all the volunteer counters had checked in and gone home to bed. By 12:45 a.m. members of the West Hills Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee, friends from Pierce College and Lutheran Social Services had finished the cleanup and left.
The West Hills Homeless Count for that January night was 85.
Even though the results had been electronically submitted to LAHSA, one volunteer was required to drive the hard-copy results and equipment to North Hollywood. At 1:30 a.m., in the parking lot of the drop-off site, other volunteers were returning with their boxes from locations all over the Valley. And the same was occurring at other locations throughout Los Angeles City and County.
LAHSA does this count annually to know how to allocate resources across the City and County of Los Angeles.
In 2017, the homeless count across Los Angeles went up 23%. Here in the Valley, the count was down from 2016. It was a cold, cold night in the Valley, and that may have affected the results.
The next LAHSA Homeless Count will be in January 2018. Consider volunteering. Watch for the announcements beginning in December 2017.
Neighborhoods in the West Valley reported as follows:
Community Total Sheltered Unsheltered # in RV, cars, vans Other
Canoga Park 158 No shelter 158 102 56
Chatsworth 344 191 153 143 10
West Hills 85 No shelter 85 75 10
Woodland Hills 96 No shelter 96 58 36