Congratulations to everyone who showed up last Thursday night to participate in the 2023 Greater Hollywood Homeless Count, conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) -- and co-facilitated by Hollywood 4WRD. The LAHSA Homeless Count is an important tool for understanding – and addressing – the problem of homelessness in Hollywood. The results of the count can be used to help policymakers develop and implement effective solutions to this growing problem.
Christine Stellino and Araceli Villalobos at The Center in Hollywood deserve special kudos for their amazing work hosting the Count site in their parking lot. They showed up hours before the Count began to prepare the parking lot for the large number of cars and volunteers who’d be arriving in a few hours. Helping with this task were 20 on-site Operations Coordinators, composed of folks from Hollywood’s service sector, including H4WRD’s staff, Brittney Weissman and Tim Davis, along with Board members, Steve Fiechter, Heather Carmichael, and Louis Abramson!
At 6pm, an hour before the Count began, the on-site coordinators were treated to a visit from Serapia Kim, a Field Representative from the Mayor’s office. Ms. Kim expressed gratitude to the coordinators, and assured them the data they’d be helping to collect that night would be put to very good use by a new Mayor in Karen Bass determined to provide better services and treatment for persons experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
Around 7pm, the volunteers (including a large number of H4WRD members!) began arriving to do the actual counting on what turned out to be a brisk January night in Hollywood. Similar to the 2022 Hollywood Homeless Count, this year’s Count used a mostly drive through model. Volunteers drove into The Center’s parking lot via three car lanes, and were directed by the on-site coordinators to three separate stations where they were checked in and trained on how to use LAHSA’s new app. Once they were up and running with the app, each car/”pod” of volunteers were handed the specific census tracts where they would be doing the actual counting that night.
The volunteers then fanned out, some on foot, making their way through the various census tracts of Hollywood and counting all the persons experiencing homelessness living on the streets, in cars, or in tents. Because of their efforts, the 2023 Greater Hollywood Homeless Count was able to collect essential data for ensuring better, more effective services for those in our community experiencing unsheltered homelessness.