It was 42 degrees and dark outside as 41 volunteers and four LAPD officers left Palisades High School at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 to look for homeless and encampments in nine different sections of town.
Although the tally has not been officially released, Area 4 (incorporating Sunset Boulevard down Temescal Canyon Road to PCH, north to Von’s at Sunset, then back to PaliHi) saw fewer encampments this year, and fewer transients. Last year’s total count was 53; this year’s total was 25.
Families are counted separately. A family of four was found sleeping in a car in Von’s parking lot. (Social workers Glanda Sherman and Maureen Rivas, hired by the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, were notified.)
Castellammare resident Kim Clary, who has organized the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Count in Pacific Palisades for the past three years, confirmed that overall, “We’re down this year.”
Last year in the nine areas, 88 individuals were counted, with 74 encampments (makeshift shelters, tents and cars), for a total of 162. The unofficial count this year was 34 individuals and 36 encampments, for a total of 70.
Clary believes one explanation might be that the recent cold weather and rainstorms had caused some of the encampments to be abandoned. “I also think it’s because the task force has enforcement and services that we’ve also seen the numbers decrease,” said Clary, noting that LAPD’s Rusty Redican and Jimmy Soliman enforce “no trespassing” laws, while making clear to the homeless that there are services available for them.
“Glanda and Maureen are so good to go in and work with people,” Clary said. In 2016, the two were able to get 32 homeless off the streets and into shelters or apartments.
Sharon Kilbride, with the PPTFH, noted that if Palisades residents would stop enabling transients with food, money, cloth- ing and blankets, it would be easier to get the homeless off the streets.
Noah’s Bagels, Von’s (coffee and water) and Ralphs (fruit plates) provided early morning snacks for volunteers.