The first head count of homeless people in Los Angeles County found more than 90,000 men, women and children living on streets and in encampments, vehicles and shelters. About 35,000 of them are chronically homeless, reports the Los Angeles Times. The count of people who are homeless at any given time was close to prior estimates, which ranged as high as 84,000 people.
The street count, using more than 1,000 paid and volunteer canvassers, was conducted in 512 census tracts over three consecutive nights in January. Separate surveys were conducted in scores of shelters, recovery facilities, jails and hospitals. The count also included face-to-face surveys to collect detailed demographic data and a telephone survey of randomly selected households to find homeless family members who might elude street enumerators. People who work with the homeless say they hope the new statistically accurate numbers will validate concerns they have raised for years about the extent of the problems.