Federal census workers will recount the homeless population in September, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Friday on the heels of the release of local data showing a 14.2% year-over-year increase in the number of homeless people in Los Angeles and a 12.7% increase countywide as of January.
The federal count was originally scheduled for the end of March and beginning of April, but health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 delayed field work.
The U.S. Census Bureau now plans to send specially trained census takers to count people at shelters, soup kitchens, regularly scheduled mobile food vans, all-night businesses such as transit stations and 24-hour laundromats, as well as outdoor encampments previously identified by the agency. Census takers currently plan to complete the count Sept. 22-24.
The agency is coordinating with service providers and advocacy groups across the country to adjust operations to local circumstances and ensure a complete count. Census takers will follow the latest local public health guidance at that time with regard to personal protective gear and social distancing.
In 2017, about $12.7 billion in federal funding for Los Angeles County was based on census-related estimates, according to a UCLA study released in March. That number could be even higher given coronavirus relief funding provided by the federal government this year. The September count could be critical to funding for programs designed to combat homelessness.
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