Nearly 40% of North Hollywood, Sun Valley homeless found at risk
Of the 271 people surveyed, 106 were found to have health conditions associated with a high mortality risk, said organizers from the San Fernando Valley Homeless Coalition, a network of service providers.
About 60 volunteers took part in the effort, fanning out in the early morning hours Monday through Wednesday to interview people living on the streets and in shelters about their health status, institutional history, length of homelessness and other issues.
The survey found that 199 people -- about 73% -- met the definition of chronically homeless, meaning that they have a disabling condition and have been homeless for at least a year, or had four episodes of homelessness in the last three years. Studies have shown that this population accounts for a disproportionate share of government spending because of their frequent use of hospital emergency rooms, other crisis services and jail cells.
Those surveyed included 63 people over the age of 55, 19 under 25 and 50 veterans.
Members of the homeless coalition plan to use the results to prioritize people for housing and support services.
North Hollywood and Sun Valley are among more than 90 communities nationwide to join the 100,000 Homes campaign, an effort to get 100,000 homeless people into permanent housing by 2013.
Similar initiatives in Santa Monica, Venice, West Hollywood, Glendale, Pasadena, Hollywood, Van Nuys, Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles have put permanent roofs over the heads of more than 700 of the most hard-core homeless in Los Angeles County, according to figures collected by the campaign. It's estimated that more than 51,000 people are homeless on any given day in the county.
-- Alexandra Zavis
Photo: A homeless man reclines on a picnic table bench at Weddington Park South in North Hollywood. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times