More than 200 participants, including more than 160 community volunteers, searched the streets of Santa Monica in the late evening January 27th for a citywide count of the homeless population.

Representatives from non-profits, businesses, the faith community, city commissions, first responders, community service groups and residents took part in the complete hand count, which helps create an “average-night snapshot” of the number of people living on Santa Monica’s streets.

The count took place between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and covered every census tract in the city, including all streets, alleys, parks and doorways, a homeless services administrator said.

“I really enjoyed being a part of the count and hope that we can promote the work in ways that make a difference for our most vulnerable citizens,” Social Services Commissioner Nancy Geshke said.

Results from the 2010 count will be presented at the Social Services Commission meeting scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday, February 22nd.

The homeless count data is used to measure the city’s successes as well as to identify challenges and help coordinate strategies and resources for ending homelessness. The effort is also critical to ensure that the city gets its fair share of federal, state and local resources to provide much needed services, according to the human services division.

In late January 2009 Santa Monica partnered with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on a complete, citywide count of homeless people. Data from last year’s count has helped the city demonstrate an eight-percent reduction in homelessness since 2007 and the tangible effects of the Action Plan to Address Homelessness, local programs and initiatives.