Homelessness in San Gabriel Valley

Los Angeles County has seen a slight decline in homelessness since the 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. The data is comprised every year by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Volunteers would go out and count individuals who are unsheltered. The rest of the individuals counted come from shelters or those living out of cars, vans or tents.

The 2018 data shows that there is a total of 52,765 in Los Angeles County compared to the 55,048 that were counted for in 2017. This four percent decrease from the previous year could be a step towards cities within the county pushing and the approval of measure H.

Measure H is a proposal that was on the L.A. County ballot that would raise taxes by one-fourth of a cent. This increase in taxes is said to raise approximately $355 million and would go towards services for the homeless.

The San Gabriel Valley is one of the eight Service Planning Areas that has still yet to see a decrease in homelessness. The count results from 2018 showed 4,282 individuals who struggled with housing.

“In San Dimas, we counted 12 individuals who had experienced homelessness,” Ann Garcia, Administrative Analyst for Community Development, said.

Garcia works for the city of San Dimas and helps break down the numbers presented by the volunteers who count homeless people.

“The city was given about $30,000 in grant money to help with services, shelter and food,” Garcia said.

San Dimas, Glendora, Covina, Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights are just a few of the cities in the San Gabriel Valley that have made initiative in providing services for individuals in need Garcia had said. With the help of the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless, those in need are helped with finding permanent housing and assisted with food, clothes and self-supporting individuals.

The non-profit organization has four programs to help combat homelessness: The Emergency Assistance Center, Transitional Services Program, Winter Shelter Program and the Encore Program as listed on the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless website.

“The Winter Shelter Program is a rotational shelter that runs between six churches,” Garcia said. “Right now the services are at the St. Dorothy Catholic Church which will last until the end of December.”

The Winter Shelter Program runs throughout the day in which buses pick up those who registered for the shelter. The buses arrive around 5 a.m. at the requested pick up zones in which the individual in need is then taken to the shelter. Maria Ariza, a receptionist at St. Dorothy Catholic Church has seen first hand what it’s like during the Winter Shelter Program.

“There are about 190 guests that stay a night. They are given food, clothes and a cot to sleep in,” Ariza said. In the morning they are fed breakfast and given a bagged lunch and dropped off at a destination of their chosing.

All of the work is done by volunteers who sign up with the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for Homeless. They are constantly busy and help with various stations like kitchen help or folding clothes. On some special occasions there has been a barber that would come in and give haircuts Ariza said in a phone interview.

“It really is an amazing turn out and we can’t even accommodate the great work these volunteers put in,” Ariza said.

With the help from funding from proposition H, nonprofit organizations like the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for Homelessness and the number of volunteer work put in to helping these shelters there is some reassurance that Homelessness in LA County will continue to decline.

The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count for 2019 will he held Jan. 22 through Jan. 24. For more information on homelessness and data information go to www.lahsa.org.

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