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Orange County delays homeless count a month due to COVID-19 surge

Two volunteers speak with homeless men.
City Net volunteer and licensed vocational nurse Angie Munoz, left, and lead case manager Jennifer Munoz speak with homeless men in the 1800 block of Placentia Avenue in Costa Mesa during Orange County’s 2019 Point in Time count.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Orange County is postponing its biannual homeless count until the end of February in light of the COVID-19 surge.

“The county of Orange is among several Continuums of Care (CoC) in Southern California that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to reschedule the 2022 Point In Time to the last 10 days of February due to the impacts of COVID-19,” according to a statement issued by the county last week.

The sheltered count will begin the night of Feb. 21. The unsheltered count where volunteers hit the streets will begin the morning of Feb. 22 and last through Feb. 24.

This is the second time the pandemic has interrupted the homeless count. This year’s count was initially scheduled to begin Jan. 24. Then, it was canceled in 2021 because of COVID-19. The last count was conducted in 2019, which found nearly 7,000 people living in shelters or on the streets countywide.

The Point in Time count is a federally required biennial census that collects demographic data and other information so agencies can update their practices and resources. It also serves as a comprehensive census showing O.C.'s homeless population that year and helps determine how much funding the county will receive to address homeless issues.

City Net, a Long Beach-based nonprofit, is still looking for volunteers to help. The nonprofit will help train and lead them and other organizations to collect necessary information.

Those interested in signing up must show proof of being fully vaccinated, including the booster shot. Otherwise volunteers must show proof of a negative PCR test within 48 hours of their scheduled volunteer shift. Face masks are also a requirement.

For more information and to sign-up as a volunteer, visit everyonecountsoc.org/volunteer.

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