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Volunteers survey the homeless in San Fernando Valley

August 29, 2011 | 11:04 am

Volunteer orientation at the LA Family Housing Valley Shelter

Armed with flashlights and clipboards, dozens of volunteers fanned out before dawn Monday to find the most vulnerable people living on the streets of North Hollywood and Sun Valley.

The effort organized by the San Fernando Valley Homeless Coalition, a network of service providers, aims to help at least 75 people into stable housing and find them the services they need to stay off the streets.

North Hollywood and Sun Valley are among more than 90 communities nationwide to join the 100,000 Homes campaign, an effort to house 100,000 homeless people by 2013.

Using a model developed by the campaign, volunteers are surveying the homeless three nights this week about their health, alcohol or drug use and other issues that influence how likely they are to die if left on the streets. The information will be used to prioritize the most vulnerable for permanent housing as well as for counseling, treatment and other services.

“Once you start learning about somebody and they are more than a body, they are a name, then you have the opportunity to do something to get them off the streets,” said John Horn, co-chair of the San Fernando Valley Homeless Coalition.

About 60 volunteers took part on the first day and completed 47 surveys, he said.

Some of those interviewed this week may qualify for an apartment at L.A. Family Housing's Glenoaks Gardens, a 60-unit complex scheduled to open in Sun Valley in December with on-site services for low-income single adults. The complex is to include 45 units for people with mental health diagnoses, a group that accounts for a significant portion of those who live on the streets long-term.

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 100,000 Homes campaign. It's estimated that more than 51,000 people are homeless on any given day in the county.

Results from the survey are to be announced at a news conference Friday.


Turning a revolving door into a gateway

After the hospital, a haven for homeless patients to recuperate

Volunteers fan out to survey Hollywood's homeless

-- Alexandra Zavis

Photo: Survey volunteers undergo orientation at a homeless shelter in North Hollywood on Sunday. Credit: Ivette Vivanco / Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness