More than 30 volunteers from throughout the San Gabriel Valley met at First United Methodist Church on Tuesday night to count the city's homeless. The Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority organizes the biannual event, which is used to tailor programs that meet the needs of homeless individuals in L.A. County.
Volunteers were split into teams, given a specific area in Alhambra, and trained on how to recognize homelessness; vehicles with homeless people living inside; and makeshift shelters such as cardboard boxes, tarps, or tents. According to LAHSA's final count, volunteers found 10 homeless adults, 4 unaccompanied homeless youths, 3 cars and 1 camper that looked as though a homeless individual or individuals were living inside, and 2 makeshift shelters in Alhambra.
Many volunteers were out until late hours, and some did not return until midnight. "It's been a really eye opening experience," Ian Dale, a 32-year-old freelance graphic designer who lives in Alhambra, said. "We're always kind of catching glimpses of the homeless population, but not really knowing the diverse situations that homeless people come under. I feel like I have a better understanding of the homeless situation in Los Angeles after volunteering here."
First United Methodist Pastor Richard Bentley and his team were given the Midwick area and found one car that looked as though it may be a shelter. Bentley said he wanted to participate in the homeless count to get an accurate view of homelessness in Alhambra. "The city says there are only 12, but I suspect, at least from what I see at my church, that there are more than that," Bentley said. "I would have never thought of spending the evening looking around Midwick and possibly finding a situation of homelessness there."
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