City asks for community input on homelessness

Officer Chad Amerine (Stephany Santin)

By Brett Callwood

On Wednesday Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m., the City of Gardena will host a Community Input Session to discuss the ongoing homelessness issue. It will be held at the Nakaoka Community Center Auditorium, 1670 W. 162nd St. Gardena, and refreshments will be provided.

City representatives told the GVN that the aim of the session is to “give an opportunity to those who live and/or work in Gardena to voice their concerns and provide input on strategies they feel important  to incorporate into the Gardena Homeless Strategic Plan.”

“Participants will also learn about the purpose of the Homeless Strategic Plan and how the City currently assists someone who is experiencing homelessness,” they said. “The Community Input Session is necessary for the public to learn about the Homeless Strategic Plan that will affect their community as well as voice what they would like prioritized in their city’s plan.”

The City said that the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count reported that  there were 76 persons reported experiencing homelessness. By 2020, that had grown to 98 persons were experiencing homelessness, a higher amount since the previous year. 

“The Los Angeles Homeless Count results for 2022 have not been released yet, however, official results will be released on September 8, 2022 on,” they said.

The City hopes that this session will help identity concerns from the public.

“The Gardena Homeless Plan Survey has been extended to Sept. 11, 2022,” they said. “Anyone who still would like to voice their input can do so on”

The session will see numerous City representatives attending.

“The plan is being developed by the Recreation and Human Services department in partnership with a consulting firm and members of a task force comprised of city staff,” they said. “This meeting will be hosted by Tara Carruth the Senior Consultant at Focus Strategies, the Gardena Homeless Coordinator Dianna Espinoza, and Gardena/Hawthorne Mental Evaluation Team (GHMET) Officer Chad Amerine. This meeting will allow those who live/and or work in Gardena to voice their concerns and priorities. Once they have given their input, it will be collected and addressed in the Final Homeless Strategic Plan.”

The Emergency Services program at the Gardena Human Services Divisionis currently on hand to aid people experiencing homelessness.

“The Emergency Services program offers food, hygiene supplies, bus fare, case management and referrals to agencies, shelters, and more,” they said. “However, the City of Gardena understands there is a need for an official Homeless Strategic Plan to identify strengths of the city as well as the services we still need.”