By Michael Axt
In conjunction with a county-wide tabulation, the City of Gardena will orchestrate its fourth annual “homeless” count, beckoning local volunteers for next Wednesday’s census of Freeway City’s transient population.
“Fifty volunteers is our goal. As of last week we have 29 signed up,” said Lt. Raul Alarcon, Gardena Police Department and coordinator for the city homeless count.
In coordination with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA),” Gardena will conduct its homeless count on the evening of Jan. 23 under the supervision of the police department and is urging volunteers to show up at the Gardena Police Department at 8 p.m. for an ad hoc training for the three-hour census, spearheaded by the GPD.
The volunteers will be paired off in 2-3 persons and will be assigned census tract throughout the city.
“The main goal for this count is to be able to locate and identify individuals and homeless families as to the geographical area within our city borders, in order to better assist and offer resources to our homeless population. The count also aids in statistical data for future money set aside by the County and the State,“ said Alarcon
The results of this Greater Los Angeles-sponsored tabulation will determine funding to address the plight of homeless citizens as dictated by Measure H, the quarter-cent sales tax earmarked for homeless services that voters passed in 2017.
The revenues from Measure H are designated for permanent housing, rental subsidies emergency shelters and emergency crews in accordance with the ballot proposition.
The Gardena homeless count will be the second evening of the three-day effort to record and tabulate the Los Angeles County’s homeless figures. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires the count in all areas that seek federal funds to address homelessness.
In a report cited by the South Bay Coalition to End Homelessness (SBCEH) last July, there were 47 homeless dwellers in the six-square miles of Freeway City, a decrease of more than 20 since 2017.
‘”Although parts of the county were seeing an increase in the number of homeless who are confronting this issue for the first time, we are pleased with the numbers related to Gardena,” said Nancy Wilcox, a co-chair for SBCEH. SBCEH is a leading homelessness advocacy alliance based in San Pedro.
Wilcox credits Gardena’s downswing in homelessness to the city’s police department and its “ground zero and effective partnership” with the county hea