The City of Santa Monica is seeking volunteers who would like to assist in the citywide count of homeless people Wednesday night, January 27th.

City officials say they need at least 200 volunteers to conduct the count, scheduled from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Human Services Division representatives explain that the count is a great opportunity to have a more hands-on role and become engaged in local efforts to address homelessness.

The effort has been supported by the Santa Monica police chief, fire chief and the Chamber of Commerce.

In late January 2009, Santa Monica partnered with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) on a complete, citywide count of homeless people. The effort was part of LAHSA’s biannual project, which is required by the federal government.

Data from last year’s Santa Monica Homeless Count has helped identify a reduction in homelessness — eight percent from 2007 to 2009 — and the tangible effects of the city’s Action Plan to Address Homelessness, local programs and initiatives, according to human services officials. Beyond demonstrating a reduction in homelessness, last year’s effort was also a success in terms of volunteer engagement, community education and community building, officials noted.

During this year’s count, teams of two to three people will search Santa Monica’s streets and record the number of homeless individuals. Security will be provided and all volunteers will receive training. Volunteers will be deployed from western and mid-city locations, on foot and in cars.

For more information or to RSVP, (310) 458-8701 or dina.aubrey@smgov.net/.

Information on city homelessness efforts, www.homelessnessaction.smgov.net/.

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