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County Delays Release of Homeless Count Results
By Jorge Casuso
July 6, 2022 -- As the Los Angeles region grapples with a highly visible homeless population, County officials announced Wednesday that the results of its homeless count won't be released for another two months.
Gathering the data originally scheduled for release on July 21 "was significantly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) said.
The results of the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count -- which is used by cities to gauge how widespread their homeless problem is -- will be released in early September after it has been fully evaluated, LAHSA officials said.
"The University of Southern California and LAHSA work together to collect, develop and analyze the data for the annual Point-in-Time Count," officials said.
"Once completed, LAHSA submits its data to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for validation. After receiving approval from HUD, LAHSA releases the data to the public."
This year, "to ensure the safety of its volunteers," the agency received HUD's permission "to move its unsheltered count from January to February and received a one-month extension to late May 2022 to submit its data," LAHSA said.
HUD, however, informed the agency last week that it would not begin validating the data until the week of July 18, three days before LAHSA planned to release it.
"After carefully considering its options, LAHSA has decided to postpone releasing the results of the Homeless Count until HUD has completed its review, since the accuracy of the data is of paramount importance," officials said.
"LAHSA is scheduled to receive the validated data in late August and will plan to release the data to the public in early September."
The County's data proved critical in 2017, when Santa Monica's homeless population jumped 26 percent to 921 individuals ("Santa Monica Homeless Count Mirrors Los Angeles County Increase, Officials Say," June 1, 2017).
LAHSA's data, which was released on May 31 that year, showed a staggering 23 percent jump that mirrored Santa Monica's increase, indicating the trend was one that encompassed all corners of the County.
This year's count in February, the first in two years, showed Santa Monica's homeless population had dropped from 907 to 807, but the number of those living on the streets had remained flat ("Santa Monica's Homeless Population Drops During COVID," May 5, 2022).
City officials noted that the increase in the number of homeless persons would have been more dramatic if Los Angeles County had not boosted the number of available beds in the region.
Gauging how big of an impact that may have had on Santa Monica will have to await the release of the County's census data in September.
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