BEVERLY HILLS—On Wednesday, January 27, the city of Beverly Hills completed its annual Homeless Count with the assistance of 35 community volunteers. The Homeless Count is part of the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority’s effort to understand and find ways to assist in the state of Homelessness in the region.
According to a press release from the city of Beverly Hills, community volunteers, in partnership with the Beverly Hills Ambassador Team, Beverly Hills Police Department and the City’s Changing Lives and Sharing Places (CLASP) homeless outreach team, counted a total of 14 homeless individuals and one make-shift shelter in Beverly Hills. It is a 50 percent decrease from last year where the count was at 29.
Beverly Hills has seen steady decreases in its number of homeless people starting since 2009 when the count began. That year a total of 42 people were counted, and it took two place every two years until it became annual. In 2011, 37 homeless were counted and in 2013 a total of 30 people were counted.
The Beverly Hills Human Services notes that the reduction in the homeless population is because of the implementation of the Beverly Hills Ambassador Program which started in July 2015. The Ambassador team offers services 7 days a week, 21 hours a day in the business triangle and on South Beverly Drive. The focus is on hospitality and safety services, and works closely with the CLASP homeless outreach team.
Referrals from the Ambassadors helps the CLASP team assist connecting homeless individuals with the local and regional social services available to address their needs.
With the Ambassadors continued presence and extra boots on the ground, the City’s Human Services Division and CLASP team have been able to focus on intensive case management to link vulnerable individuals to critical services needed to stabilize their lives – housing, medical, mental health, and government benefits.
“Before the Ambassadors started we had significant problems with people sheltering in City parking structures at night and making money by aggressively panhandling on City streets by day. Now the Ambassadors monitor the parking lots, removing door jams and reporting broken door handles to City staff so that the structures cannot be accessed after hours. Individuals who agreed to seeking shelter got the assistance from Human Services,” explains Latta.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count began on January 26 and lasted for a total of three nights where over 6,000 total volunteers participated to count homeless people in the Greater Los Angeles area. Numbers are reported to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and influence the amount of federal funding directed to Los Angeles County.
For more information on how to help ending homelessness in the region, interested parties can contact Jim Latta with the Human Services Division, 310-285-2537 and online www.beverlyhills.org/hsd.