A Count Night to Remember: the 2024 Hollywood Homeless Count, Part 2

A Count Night to Remember: the 2024 Hollywood Homeless Count, Part 2

H4WRD Blog

The 2024 Hollywood Homeless Count, Part 2: A Count Night to Remember

DATELINE: Hollywood, CA (January 25th, 2024)

On Thursday night, 1/25, Hollywood 4WRD served as the “Deployment Site Coordinator” (DSC) for the Hollywood portion of the 2024 Los Angeles ‘Point-In-Time’ Homeless Count.

In their role as DSCs, the H4WRD team:

  • Recruited close to 100 volunteers for the monumental effort of counting all of Hollywood’s 57 Census tracts
  • Recruited an internal DSC support team of 20 volunteers to help manage the influx of volunteers, and work at the various “stations” set up at the site, ie., Check-in, Training, Team Formation, etc. (Special thanks to the unflappable Asher Landau from our Hollywood Food Coalition partners) for stepping in at the last minute as an additional DSC team member!
  • Secured First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood as the Deployment Site (thanks to the whole FPCH team for being such great partners!)
  • Set up the site for maximum flow and efficiency in advance of the volunteers gathering to receive their tract assignments.

As with the other DSCs throughout LA County, H4WRD’s primary role was to support Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) in ensuring that the data collected via the Homeless Count was up-to-date and accurate. 

Volunteers Count

But it was the nearly 100 or so volunteers gathered who had the most important role of the night.

As Hollywood 4WRD’s Executive Director, Brittney Weissman, reminded the assembled Counters before they were launched “into the field”, the Homeless Count was their opportunity to come face-to-face with the scourge of homelessness. Literally. 

“The issue of homelessness is one that affects us all,” Brittney reminded everyone. “Finding solutions requires a collective effort, and a collective willingness to confront the crisis directly.”

From the time the first volunteers began showing up at the Church at 7pm, to the time when the last group of volunteers returned to the site at almost midnight, it was clear that the volunteers who showed up that night were more than ready to accept Brittney’s challenge. That willingness became even clearer as the Count night unfolded and presented two distinct but related challenges:

  1. Two pieces of technology, the counting app used by the volunteers AND the DSC dashboard for checking volunteers in and out, proved less than stable;
  2. Helping the throng of volunteers navigate the challenging technology as they headed onto the streets of Hollywood to perform their civic duty.

Fortunately, despite the technology glitches, the Hollywood Homeless Count proved to be a rewarding experience for all, and one which left Hollywood 4WRD feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude for our community.

Community Gratitude

The biggest bucket of gratitude for pulling off the monumental Homeless Count goes, of course, to the volunteer counters themselves. It was particularly impressive how flexible and forward-facing all the volunteers remained as the mounting technology challenges forced a pivot halfway through the night from using the app and dashboard to paper maps and pens. 

H4WRD’s DSC team owes big thanks as well to the “A Team” of onsite supporters who helped manage the large flow of volunteers over the course of the long evening. 

Additional H4WRD gratitude goes out to: 

Last but not least, we appreciate Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for its ongoing commitment to helping everyone experiencing homelessness in our community receive the support and services they deserve.

At Hollywood 4WRD, we are all too aware that progress on the issue of homelessness can sometimes be hard to see and, as the challenges on Count night demonstrated, even harder to measure. Our hope is that the lessons learned during the 2024 PIT Homeless Count will lead to next year’s effort proceeding more smoothly and efficiently.

In the meantime, we are even prouder of our continued role as the hub for a wide range of community members – from faith-based leaders and service providers, to residents, business owners and folks with lived experience – many of whom turned out on Count night and who remain steadfast in their commitment to ending and preventing street homelessness in Greater Hollywood.

Additional Resources:

  • For more questions about the 2024 Homeless Count, please see LAHSA’s FAQ page.
  • For a one-page compendium of vital numbers and websites covering the range of homelessness services in Hollywood, download Hollywood 4WRD’s Homelessness Help Sheet.