[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 4
1992 - Pardee House (ex-Good Templars Lodge) moved to Heritage Junction/Hart Park [story]
Pardee House


| Friday, Jul 31, 2020
homeless population
From left: Alix Schwartz, 26, Gabby Vera, 27, and Hector Sherman, 30, look at a map next to Valencia Meadows Park as they participate in the annual homeless count on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. | Photo: Nikolas Samuels / The Signal.

 

Those working with the Santa Clarita Valley’s homeless population fear the county’s annual count of people in need of housing is once again lower than the actual figure, despite having 30% more people helping in the count.

The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count reported a 35% decrease in the homeless population from last year’s SCV figure — a drop from 256 people in 2019 to 168 in 2020 — which experts indicated was more a reflection of the challenges in defining and identifying homeless individuals, an issue every year. In its data, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority also indicated the annual count excludes transition-age youth, domestic violence shelters and people using emergency motel vouchers due to privacy matters.

The tally is far lower than what members of the local homeless task force say is the actual count, and a significant part of the discrepancy has to do with defining who is homeless.

At the Newhall School District alone, for example, Superintendent Jeff Pelzel said Thursday the district has approximately 148 homeless students, an increase of about 20 students since last year.

“I think the challenge is on how you look at and define homelessness,” Pelzel said. “For us, we look into adequate housing. You may see two or three families living in a two-bedroom apartment with multiple kids trading beds or some on the floor, and that’s inadequate housing.”

The challenge also comes with how individuals are counted, he added.

“When we engage in that count for that single night in (January), we drive around looking for people in tents, RVs and the streets, and it’s often hard to see at night, but you also can’t see the four families living together in an apartment. That’s the disconnect.”

Santa Clarita’s 2020 homeless population count is part of the 54,291 counted across L.A. County, a figure that excludes transition-age youth, domestic violence shelters and those using emergency motel vouchers.

Results of the annual count, used by the federal government and county, determine how much money would be allocated to local homeless programs and services, which helped transition Bridge to Home’s SCV shelter operations from seasonal to year-round.

homeless population

Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth talks to more than 100 volunteers at The Centre before heading to the streets for the 2020 homeless count on Jan. 21. | Photo: Tammy Murga / The Signal.

Sheltered vs. Unsheltered
For those counted under “sheltered persons,” 57 people out of 65 were attributed to living in emergency shelters, such as Bridge to Home. The remaining eight were counted as living in transitional housing.

A closer look at “unsheltered persons” data showed that out of 103, a total of 42 individuals were living in RVs and campers and 21 were living on the street. Last year, about 23% of 256 homeless individuals were counted living in RVs.

Results also showed 3, or 2.77%, of the 103 were people in makeshift shelters. In January, the city organized six teams consisting of Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies, code enforcement officers and county homelessness experts to conduct an early-morning operation in areas, such as riverbeds, that had not been included in previous counts. One of the six teams had counted about 20 tents or makeshift shelters, according to Jerrid McKenna, assistant to the city manager, who partook in both the morning and night canvass.

Makeshift shelter data is one example of the discrepancy in the 2020 count to the actual local homeless population tally, according to Mike Foley, director of Bridge to Home, the SCV’s primary homeless service provider.

“We know from the numbers on the 2020 report for makeshift shelters that they aren’t accurate,” he said, adding, “We’re looking forward to a process in which the numbers that were counted will actually be reflected in the report.”

While the count is below the actual figure, the 2020 decrease does reflect that local partnerships and resources available are playing a role in both responsive and preventative efforts, said Mayor Cameron Smyth, who is also chair of the city’s homeless task force.

“Our efforts with having a year-round shelter and our services continue to grow, so it does change what the count looks like,” he said. “And while the number of people identified at the time may not be the most accurate reflection, and we know that going in considering it’s a one-day count, we have developed a model to help give us data specific to Santa Clarita to help people access services.”

Besides customizing a homeless population count specific to Santa Clarita, the task force, which consists of 30 local organizations, has also developed a homeless registry to better understand the needs of the local population. Once complete, the registry is expected to help identify who is homeless, what services are needed and what they have accessed.

Member organization Family Promise SCV has served more than 70 clients through shelter programs and has supported 115 families, while Bridge to Home has served 1,062 unduplicated clients via intake and outreach, eviction prevention and case management. The shelter is also working to enhance its shelter facility in Newhall.

homeless population

Los Angeles County Lifeguard Jack Bark, left, and Andrea Rocha, right, from Bridge to Home, discuss the resident check-in procedures at the Super 8 motel in Canyon Country on Saturday, April 11, 2020. | Photo: Dan Watson / The Signal.

No Checkout Date
A Super 8 motel in Canyon Country also provides more than four dozen beds for homeless individuals in the SCV not included in the homeless count, according to officials.

The contract was set to expire July 15, but it has been extended, according to Michelle Vega, spokeswoman for county Supervisor Kathyrn Barger, via email. Requests for information about the extended lease expiration date were not returned.

Bridge to Home has offered 60 beds to temporarily house the homeless, as well as provide 50 rooms at the Canyon Country hotel through Project Roomkey — a statewide effort to procure housing for the homeless amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both locations have operated at full capacity.

“Regardless of the report,” Foley said, “we continue intensive efforts to help move people from homelessness to housing and provide basic services to help survive the COVID-19 crisis.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Aug 3, 2020
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: ‘Cautious Optimism’ from L.A. County; SCV Cases Total 4,465
L.A. County Public Health officials expressed "cautious optimism" on Monday, confirming 12 new deaths and 1,634 new cases of COVID-19, with 4,465 cases confirmed to date in the Santa Clarita Valley, including 2,228 in the city of Santa Clarita.
Monday, Aug 3, 2020
‘Elsmere Fire’ Breaks Out Near Newhall Avenue and Highway 14
Los Angeles County, L.A. city and Angeles National Forest firefighters were attacking a brushfire, dubbed the Elsmere Fire, late Monday afternoon near Newhall Avenue and Highway 14 in Newhall.
Monday, Aug 3, 2020
Santa Clarita Marathon Canceled for 2020 Due to COVID-19
The 2020 Santa Clarita Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars, has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related public health concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff and event partners.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1992 - Pardee House (ex-Good Templars Lodge) moved to Heritage Junction/Hart Park [story]
Pardee House
L.A. County Public Health officials expressed "cautious optimism" on Monday, confirming 12 new deaths and 1,634 new cases of COVID-19, with 4,465 cases confirmed to date in the Santa Clarita Valley, including 2,228 in the city of Santa Clarita.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: ‘Cautious Optimism’ from L.A. County; SCV Cases Total 4,465
Los Angeles County, L.A. city and Angeles National Forest firefighters were attacking a brushfire, dubbed the Elsmere Fire, late Monday afternoon near Newhall Avenue and Highway 14 in Newhall.
‘Elsmere Fire’ Breaks Out Near Newhall Avenue and Highway 14
The 2020 Santa Clarita Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars, has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related public health concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff and event partners.
Santa Clarita Marathon Canceled for 2020 Due to COVID-19
Single-use plastics do not break down and contribute to a large portion of the waste found in landfills and in our rivers and oceans.
How to Reduce Waste from Single-Use Plastics
In his August message, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth urges residents to prepare for and help prevent dangerous brushfires.
Mayor Smyth’s August Message: Help Prevent Dangerous Brushfires
Recently, Santa Clarita business partners came across something new and useful in the fight against COVID-19: a nano copper film, which provides an extra layer of protection from bacteria and viruses on high-touched surfaces.
Nano Copper Film: A New Weapon in Battle Against COVID-19
A fast-moving brush fire dubbed the Post Fire scorched more than 100 acres in Gorman Sunday night, while parts of northbound Interstate 5 and Highway 138 remained closed Monday morning.
Post Fire Held at 120 Acres, Continues to Slow Traffic on Interstate 5
California’s plan to address a backlog of about 1 million unemployment benefit claims could take two months to clear.
SCV Lawmakers Respond to Newsom’s Plan to Clear Backlog of Unemployment Claims
A fast-moving, 170-acre brush fire near Castaic Lake dubbed the Castaic Fire reached 50% containment by Sunday morning, according to Angeles National Forest officials.
Castaic Fire Burns Nearly 180 Acres, 50% Contained
1975 - Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital opens with 100 beds [story]
HMNMH
1935 - Newhall deputy Archie Carter sentenced to 1 year in jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after his wife fatally shot his 20-year-old mistress (the age of majority was 21). [story]
Archie Carter
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Saturday 50 new deaths and 2,303 new cases of COVID-19, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported two additional COVID-related deaths to date, bringing SCV’s total to 48.
Saturday COVID-19 Roundup: 2 Additional Deaths at Henry Mayo; California Surpasses 500,000 Cases
Fast-Moving Castaic Fire Erupts to 160 Acres
Fast-Moving Castaic Fire Erupts to 160 Acres
The first shutdown in March was tough for longtime hairdresser Mona Huckaby but the second and current one is worse, she said Saturday.
SCV Salon Workers Hold Reopening Rally
1963 - Leona Cox Community School breaks ground in Canyon Country [story]
Leona Cox
California State University, Northridge administrators informed educators, students and staff Friday that they may have all been affected by a massive security breach suffered this spring by Blackbaud, CSUN's third-party technology provider.
CSUN, Others Possibly Affected by Massive Hack of Tech Provider Blackbaud
Throughout the pandemic, healthcare workers, such as doctors and nurses, on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight have been dubbed heroes.
Henry Mayo’s Darby Kyhl: Frontline Hero of a Different Kind
L.A. County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 69 new deaths and 2,652 new cases of COVID-19, with 4,380 cases confirmed to date in the Santa Clarita Valley, including 2,152 in the city of Santa Clarita, as California marked the first death of a teen COVID patient.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 4,380; California Marks First Teen COVID Death
The Santa Clarita Public Library invites city residents of all ages to join the “Imagine Your Story” Photo Contest, with entries due by Monday, August 24.
Santa Clarita Public Library Hosts ‘Imagine Your Story’ Photo Contest
Santa Clarita city mascot Sammy Clarita is excited to participate in the city’s Recycle Hero campaign to break down recycling misconceptions and encourage residents to help the city win the fight to recycle right.
Sammy Clarita is Santa Clarita’s Newest Recycle Hero
A new charter school, Eagle Collegiate Academy, is coming to Acton after the state Board of Education approved the school's petition earlier this month against the recommendation of local, county and state education officials.
Eagle Collegiate Academy Approved as New SCV Charter School
Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau have started an investigation after the body of a man was found at William S. Hart Park Friday morning.
Man’s Body Found in Restroom at Hart Park; Detectives Investigating
The California High-Speed Rail Authority on Friday extended the public review period for the Burbank to Los Angeles Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement an additional 31 days to Aug. 31, 2020, bringing the total comment period to 94 days.
High-Speed Rail Extends EIR Review Period for Burbank-L.A. Section to Aug. 31
%d bloggers like this: