A significant increase in homeless living in vehicles was identified
Recently, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) released the official city/community counts collected from the 2018 Greater Los Angeles Point-In-Time Homeless Count conducted on January 23, 2018. On that evening, a group of 30 Monrovia volunteers counted 35 instances of homelessness. An instance of homelessness includes those living on the streets, in makeshift shelters such as tents, and those living in a car, van, or RV/camper.
Based on the final data compiled by LAHSA, the city saw an overall decrease in the number of individuals observed on the street (nine in 2018, compared with 14 in 2017), and individuals living in a makeshift shelter (seven in 2018, compared with 10 in 2017).
However, the report identified significant increases in homeless individuals in vehicles. In total, the count identified 19 vehicles (car/van/camper) on the street. It is important to note that LAHSA takes each identified vehicle and utilizes a numerical formula to estimate an approximate number of homeless individuals living in each vehicle. For example, this methodology converts each camper counted into two to four homeless persons. The data from LAHSA on vehicles translated the 19 vehicles counted into 55 homeless individuals, as outlined below:
- Number of individuals calculated to be living in a car: three in 2017, 18 in 2018.
- Number of individuals calculated to be living in a van: two in 2017, four in 2018.
- Number of individuals calculated to be living in a camper: 10 in 2017, 33 in 2018.
For those interested in learning more, you can view the 2018 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count Results Presentation or sign up to volunteer for the 2019 count by visiting theycountwillyou.org.
Given the official homeless count numbers the city continues their efforts to respond to the overall homeless situation in our community.
First, staff plans on coordinating regular and consistent outreach activities designed to provide regular updates regarding the city’s efforts. These efforts have resulted in helping 12 homeless individuals transition to more permanent situations during the past year. Some recent efforts from 2018 include:
- Holding a Hepatitis A/Public Health Community Meeting.
- Holding a Study Session with the City Council to discuss additional response strategies and possible regulatory changes.
- Establishing a dedicated city webpage for homeless services.
Second, there are a number of infrastructure projects currently in the design/development process related to addressing issues of homelessness in Library Park, and staff plans to continue to aggressively pursue those initiatives. An overview of the projects currently in the pipeline includes:
- Library Park enhancements.
- Redesigning the patio area in front of the Community Center as a GoMonrovia LimeBike parking location.
- Blocking off the alley between the Community Center and the bank.
- Installing Real Change Movement signage and meters at Library Park.
- Reviewing possible signage upgrades/modifications at city parks.
Third, city staff is also working to expand the city’s partnership with social service operators such as LAHSA, and they are working on developing a more robust plan of relentless interface with the city’s homeless population to offer social service/housing related options.
The city has established a partnership with Mountainside Communion Church to help provide funding to assist Monrovians who are in danger of being displaced from their home. These services focus on short-term help to keep folks in their housing or relocating to more affordable housing, while keeping them in the Monrovia community.
Fourth, the police department will continue to coordinate a robust law enforcement response to address any and all violations at Library Park. The city continues to maintain its commitment to engaging in those law enforcement activities in a manner which is aligned with all applicable rules and laws. The city will continue special homeless patrols, which occur each week for five hours at a time.
Staff will be certain to coordinate additional engagement opportunities for the community to further discuss how to respond to the issue of homelessness in Monrovia.