A homeless woman sleeps in Palisades Park. (Photo by Daniel Archuleta)

By Kate Cagle

The Santa Monica Homeless Count needs more volunteers for their upcoming tally of homeless people living in the City. Interested volunteers have until Wednesday, January 18 to sign up.

The annual count collects information on the number of individuals and families living in shelters and on the streets. The count will start rain or shine at 10:30 p.m., January 25th. That night, teams of three to four people will fan out across the city on foot and in cars to cover every ally, street and park. It takes about 250 volunteers to cover Santa Monica’s 8 square miles.

Last year, volunteers counted 728 homeless people, 416 of those were sleeping on the street – a three percent increase from 2015. No children or families were found unsheltered, however, the number of homeless people sleeping on the beach had greatly increased.

Half of the homeless people counted had been living in Santa Monica for less than a year, a majority of them coming from outside the City.

It typically takes a few hours to complete the overnight count, with some counters working until 3 a.m. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and able to walk up to 2.5 miles unassisted. Parents may bring children ages 16 to 17 to participate on their team but no one younger.