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Counting the Homeless in North Hollywood

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Census Tract 1210.20 has no homeless. That's at least how it was on Tuesday night, the first of three nights of the Los Angeles Homeless Count, which is mandated every two years in order for the LA Homeless Services Authority to keep their federal funding.

And this year is critical to keep the money coming to Los Angeles. Demand for homeless services have quadrupled since last Fall in the Valley alone, according to the Daily News' Dana Bartholomew. 73,000 homeless were counted during the 2007 count and this year, considering the economy, a larger number is expected.

Still, as homeless count trainers noted to a group of volunteers on Tuesday in North Hollywood, it's not unusual if you encounter an area without homeless. For us, that held true.

Partnered up with Cecilia Ribakoff--she's science blogger on the side--of LA Family Housing and a few others, we headed off to a quiet North Hollywood neighborhood near Laurel Canyon and Roscoe Boulevards. We walked the dark streets lined with single family homes looking at every dark corner and into every sketchy car, more often than not, causing every dog in the neighborhood to bark rather than encountering any human on the street.

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In a couple months, phase two of the Homeless Count will begin. This time, trained volunteers will be interviewing homeless about needs and the such.

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