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2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count

Count Volunteer Trainer Tips


  1. Safety is the most important part of the Count. Volunteers should never wander off by themselves and always stay together. If they are feeling uncomfortable counting in a certain area, they are to note where they did not count (on their map), immediately inform the site coordinator, and continue counting in another area (if applicable). The site coordinator will have a special team count that area.


  1. Make sure to explain the importance of each role:
    1. All team compositions are flexible and may require multiple roles.
    2. Navigators should be good with reading maps and giving directions.
    3. There should always be one person designated as the spotter and one as the counter when walking the tracts.


  1. Make sure volunteers understand that the red dashes outline their tract area. Reiterate they are to count the areas inside the red dashes only.
  2. Teams should strategize how they will approach their tracts (i.e. North, South, East, West) to make sure they are covering all areas and/or are not going in circles.


  1. Volunteers should respect the space of homeless individuals and not draw attention to themselves. If greeted, greet them and explain they are participating in the street count, only if asked.


  1. Express the importance of an accurate count. Volunteers should write legibly.
    1. Space is limited on the tally sheet and writing in the margins/on back is acceptable.
    2. Check-out will be delayed if the tally sheet is not legible.


  1. A family consists of at least 1 adult and 1 child otherwise everyone is considered to be an individual.


  1. Please note, even when you are counting in driving tracts, you must get out and walk certain areas where homeless individuals may be sleeping in. Use common sense when determining when to walk vs. drive in alleys and/or mountainous, residential areas, etc.


  1. Phone numbers to law enforcement (Senior Lead Officers – SLOs) will be included with the documents received with clipboards.


  1. Reiterate what constitutes an emergency. We do not want law enforcement occupied with non-emergencies that will make them unavailable for REAL


  1. Remind volunteers to speak to the media only if they feel comfortable. Refer media to the site coordinator if they require more detailed information.


Above of all, the most important tip is for volunteers to have

FUN and enjoy the experience!!

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