Annual count of homeless residents begins in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County’s annual homeless count began Tuesday night, a crucial part of the region’s efforts to get tens of thousands of homeless people off the streets.

Up to 6,000 clipboard-carrying volunteers from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority fanned out for the main component of the effort, the unprotected street count.

The so-called “point in time” count will take place over three days and aims to estimate how many people are homeless and what services they may need, such as mental health or drug addiction treatment.

Los Angeles County’s count is the largest among similar counts in major cities across the country. The count, which also makes use of demographic surveys and housing counts, is mandated by the federal government for cities to receive certain types of funding.

This year’s recount comes amid public outrage over the perceived failure, despite costly efforts, to reduce the growing population of people living in cars, tents and makeshift street shelters.