Along with thousands of volunteers across the county, my staff and I participated in the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. This year’s homeless count had special significance because it was the first since the COVID pandemic began. A USC research team is now processing and analyzing the raw data, and results will be released later this spring.
(Councilmember Paul Krekorian talks to Manuel S., an unhoused man, during annual homeless count, with members of his staff Lorraine Diaz [kneeling], Diana Gonzalez [behind bus shelter] and Karo Torossian. (AP Photo/Marcio José Sanchez))
While we were busy recording the number of tents, RVs and occupied vehicles in our assigned stretch of North Hollywood, my staff and I met an 80-year-old man named Manuel who was experiencing homelessness. Manuel, shivering in the cold, was frail and alone at a bus stop bench with nowhere to go. Fortunately, we were quickly able to identify available shelter for him thanks to the significant amount of interim housing capacity we’ve added in my district. Manuel is now living at our Whitsett West Tiny Home village, where he is warm and safe and can receive the services and assistance he needs.
Data is important. The count is important. But the challenge of homelessness cannot be understood with statistics alone. People who are experiencing homelessness have names and life stories and hopes, while also confronting their individual barriers to sustainable housing. As we continue to fight for large scale solutions to a large scale problem, there is a victory every time we can assist an individual like Manuel.