The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) in 2011 counted more than 45,422 individuals in L.A. County living without homes.
This data, according to LAHSA, is critical to "addressing the complexities of homelessness and planning how to best invest public resources, raise public awareness, identify the needs of homeless people and improve service delivery opportunities to prevent and eliminate homelessness in our region."
For that reason, the LAHSA is this week holding its 2013 Greater Los Angeles Homeless count.
Volunteers from Northeast Los Angeles will be able to volunteer in the count this week, with efforts based out of Highland Park's All Saints Episcopal Church at 5619 Monte Vista Street and Eagle Rock Baptist Church at 1499 Colorado Boulevard. Both events will be held on Thursday, Jan. 31 8 p.m.
The Highland Park Effort will be coordinated by Pastor Randy Carillo. Rebecca Prine, Director of Recycled Resources for the Homeless, will organize volunteers in Eagle Rock.
"On the evening of Thursday, January 31 volunteers will be assigned tracks throughout this area and you will be asked to tally folks you observe without shelter," Prine said. "At this time you need not engage people unless they engage you, as the purpose of this project is to count people you observe without shelter in order to document the need for services."
Prine said participating in the effort is a way to help address a problem that, to many, seems overwhelming.
"For many, homelessness is an epidemic; a problem so vast and huge, many are overwhelmed and feel they cannot change it. I believe we can. Simply, do what you can and believe that any act, no matter how small, will make a difference. We have the ability to improve our neighborhood for all who call Highland Park home and this is an opportunity for you to do just that.," Prine said.
Volunteers can sign up to join the effort here.