PALMDALE – The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) on Thursday released the community-level data from the 2020 “point-in-time” homeless count, which was conducted in January.
Results from the 2020 Los Angeles County Homeless Count indicate that while the total number of people experiencing homelessness has increased overall in the county, the number of homeless individuals has decreased in Palmdale, reporting 289 people experiencing homelessness, down from 325 reported in 2016. Overall LA County numbers increased from 39,587 in 2016 to 54,291 in 2020.
“The homeless numbers on average have risen 37 percent since 2016 in LA County,” said Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy. “Through the hard work of our staff and collaborative efforts with our incredible partners, the city of Palmdale has seen an 11 percent reduction in our homeless count. We are committed to invest in successful strategies to assist those in need and raise the overall quality of life in our community.”
Palmdale’s comprehensive Homeless Prevention Plan outlines specific goals which include homelessness prevention, creation of pathways to housing including new housing opportunities, empowerment of local service providers with resources/information and measuring/tracking local progress. Collaboration and accountability are at the heart of the local approach to prevent, reduce, and ultimately end homelessness. Partnerships and collaboration with providers are essential to carrying out the plan.
“One of our key providers is Valley Oasis, a regional service provider that is the tip of the spear for our team effort in the community,” said Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer. “Their outreach teams are outstanding, and they have been invaluable in collaborating with the city and Northrop Grumman on the Taking Flight program, a job placement resource.”
“Valley Oasis and the city of Palmdale have worked together to have a positive impact on our community,” said Valley Oasis CEO Carol Crabson. “We attribute the decline in homelessness within the city due to the close partnership we have developed over the years. It is exciting to see what tomorrow will bring.”
Another key partner in addressing homelessness in Palmdale is Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHA). “MHA is not only our mental health experts in the region for addressing those needs for our homeless, but they are also a partner for helping our homeless Veterans,” said Mayor Pro Tem Richard Loa. “They are a major partner with regard to the special needs units in the new Courson Arts Colony.”
“Mental Health America of Los Angeles has greatly appreciated working with the city of Palmdale for more than 30 years, with the goal of providing first-class mental health and veterans services,” said MHA Chief Advancement Officer, North County Judy Cooperberg. “It is through true partnerships that we can improve the quality of life for our struggling neighbors.”
The faith-based community in Palmdale has also played a significant role in addressing homelessness. “Victory Outreach is one of our partners who comb through our city looking for those in need and are very active in helping those with addiction find shelter and stability and a chance to turn their lives around,” said Councilmember Juan Carrillo. “We have partnered together with them to get people off the streets and also to preserve and create affordable housing.”
“Our people get excited to be a part of a community that has a heart for making a difference,” said Senior Pastor of Victory Outreach Palmdale Michael Gonzalez. “That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about—it’s about transformation! Victory Outreach is a church of prayer and action and we look forward to many more years of success.”
Law enforcement also has a significant role in the efforts. “Our Palmdale Deputies are dedicated to working with our community partners and city staff to assist our homeless and to encourage them to take safe opportunities for shelter,” said Councilmember Laura Bettencourt. “They know the risks of living out in the open and are strong communicators when seeing those in need and contacting community partners who can provide assistance and the right coaching.”
“There are some individuals in the homeless population who unfortunately choose that lifestyle,” said Palmdale Sheriff’s Captain Ron Shaffer. “I am hopeful that more will take advantage of the resources offered to overcome addictions, manage mental health conditions, and receive job and life skills to maintain traditional housing. We have great and caring partners who want to help, and our community will be stronger by resolving the homeless crisis.”
The homeless crisis affects people of all ages including young adults. “Two of our partners, Advancing Communities Together and Antelope Valley YouthBuild, offer young adults the chance to complete their education, receive work skill training, find housing and break the chain of homelessness, poverty and uncertainty,” said Councilmember Austin Bishop. “Their strong partnerships with other community partners, including our local union organizations, help those in need to become self-sustaining and contributing partners in our community. The AV YouthBuild program has been active over the years here in our community building affordable housing and specifically housing for emancipated youth at the Dream Center.”
“Advancing Communities Together (ACT) and the AV YouthBuild Charter School are dedicated to the residents of the city of Palmdale and it is our desire to elevate all of those in our community,” said ACT Founders Rossie and Olivia Johnson. “The ability to partner with the city of Palmdale and with other local service providers has allowed an opportunity for those in need of housing to receive a hand up and to make a better life for themselves and improve our community together.”
“We are thankful for all our partners and the work that has been accomplished in addressing homelessness,” said Palmdale’s Director of Neighborhood Services Mike Miller. “So long as homelessness exists in Palmdale, our work is not done, and we will continue to collaborate with the organizations and individuals who seek to make a difference and improve the lives of people and our community.”
To view the City of Palmdale’s homelessness prevention plan, click here.
To view LAHSA’s Interactive Dashboard with the homeless count from 2016 to 2020, click here.
More information about the Homeless Count can be found on LAHSA’s website at https://www.lahsa.org/homeless-count/.
[Information via news release from the city of Palmdale.]