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|Santa Monica's Homeless Count Goes Smoothly|
By Ann K. Williams
January 31, 2011 – City staff is happy with last Wednesday night's tally of Santa Monica's homeless population.
The count, which helps the city allocate funding as well as measure how well its services work, lasted into the early hours as volunteers fanned out into Santa Monica's nooks and crannies.
“It went off without a hitch,” Natasha Guest, administrative analyst for the city's Human Services Division said. “The last team came in around 3 a.m.”
“The count measures whether or not we're being effective...is there a reduction in street homelessness,” Guest said.
The numbers won't be announced until February 28, when the Social Services Commission will present its findings in a meeting open to the public.
In addition to counting individuals, staff will prepare a map showing where the people they find actually live. The maps “capture locations, even if it's in an alley, Guest said, and the past three year's maps will be on display for comparison.
About 200 people helped count, including some 170 volunteers, Guest said. City employees including firefighters rounded out the team.
The United States Housing and Urban Development mandates a census of Los Angeles County's homeless population every two years, but the City of Santa Monica decided to do its count annually.
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