The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has released city-level data from the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. According to the results of the count, the city of Santa Clarita’s homeless population increased from 156 in 2018, to 256 in 2019.
Although the number of those experiencing homelessness in Santa Clarita has grown in the last year, it remains lower than the number from 2016, which was 279. The increase in the population this year is a step toward a better understanding of the baseline number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the community.
“This last year has been extremely pivotal in the resources and attention directed toward helping those who are experiencing homelessness in our community,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean. “All the pieces are falling into place, to not only provide the resources and services necessary but also to truly understand the scope of the issue.”
This baseline will be used by local service providers to more accurately measure the impact of positive actions taken by the Santa Clarita City Council and the Community Task Force on Homelessness, to combat and prevent homelessness.
The Community Task Force on Homelessness is made up of more than 30 key stakeholders in Santa Clarita. The group partners to complete the action items identified in the Community Plan to Address Homelessness. Action items within the plan are grouped into five categories: Preventing Homelessness; Increasing Income; Subsidized Housing; Increasing Affordable/Homeless Housing; and Create Local Coordination.
“The increased number is not surprising,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem and Chairman of the Community Task Force on Homelessness Cameron Smyth. “All providers knew the 2018 count was artificially low and we made a concerted effort in 2019 to have more accurate numbers. Through the Homeless Taskforce, we continue to reform the process in Santa Clarita in order to establish as accurate a count as possible, and ensure the homeless members of our community get the resources they need.”
Bridge to Home, the primary homeless services provider in the Santa Clarita Valley, is for the first time ever, providing year-round shelter services.
“Bridge to Home is making major strides toward a permanent, year-round facility, but obstacles remain,” said Michael Foley, executive director of Bridge to Home. “Finding a way to do a more accurate homeless count is paramount to knowing what services are needed. Improvements to the counting procedure are being developed by the Community Task Force on Homeless, in coordination with a team from UCLA.”
The city of Santa Clarita continues to take an active role in addressing issues that lead to homelessness and working with local service providers to assist those in need. In the last year, the city has received $375,000 in Measure H funding from the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, to implement plans and programs to combat and prevent homelessness.
To learn more about the city of Santa Clarita’s efforts to combat homelessness in the community, visit santa-clarita.com/homeless.