Pre-COVID Count Shows Modest Increase in Homeless Population

Burbank saw a marginal increase in its homeless population since last year, according to a countywide count, but officials said statistics are likely understated.
A count released Thursday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said Burbank’s total homeless population in January was 291, only a few more than the 282 people counted in 2019.
It was a noticeably less severe jump than in the prior year; from 2018 to 2019, there were 82 additional homeless people recorded in Burbank in the authority’s annual point-in-time count.
However, LAHSA’s executive director, Heidi Marston, cautioned in a news release that the count was made before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has likely caused more people to fall into homelessness as legions of workers throughout the nation lost their jobs.
The statistic for Los Angeles County’s homeless population, which increased 12.7% from the previous year to a total of 66,436 — meaning that roughly 7,500 more people were homeless this year than in 2019 — is also likely an underestimate for that reason.
Additionally, the city figure excludes some groups, including unsheltered homeless individuals ages 18-24, and people in domestic violence shelters.
Though the total homeless population of Burbank has increased and most of it remains without shelter, city Housing Development Manager Marcos Gonzalez pointed out that, according to the LAHSA count, the number of unsheltered homeless individuals actually decreased by three persons to roughly 207.

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City Striving to Reduce Pandemic’s Economic Fallout, Mayor Says

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt Burbank’s jobs and businesses, its mayor says the city is carrying out a plan to help alleviate some of the financial damage.
Emphasizing that the full extent of the coronavirus’ economic impact remains to be seen, Mayor Sharon Springer noted in a phone interview that she expects some of Burbank’s small businesses to close permanently due to economic hardship. At the same time, she highlighted some resources that the city believes could help those struggling monetarily.
Springer pointed to the city’s Economic Recovery Plan, a document approved by the City Council in May that outlines several policies to help Burbank withstand the economic drought brought on by the pandemic.

Businesses need to be kept aware of shifting health orders that may affect their operations, says the city’s Economic Recovery Plan touted by Mayor Sharon Springer.
Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader

Many of the points listed in the plan are aimed at promoting local businesses and disseminating information. For example, the city is using social media to advertise webinars that offer tips and strategies to businesses trying to weather the economic storm, and the plan also notes that businesses should be kept aware of shifting health orders that may impact their operations.
“I think a major benefit of that is to let our community know what is opening, what’s the timing on it, because everybody is just so ready to go out,” Springer explained by phone. “But we must be careful.”

Some provisions are more material. Applications for a rental assistance program offering residents impacted by the pandemic up to $800 a month for up to three months were available June 22 until Friday. And a program giving loans of $5,000 to $10,000 to small businesses is taking applications until July 10. Continue reading “City Striving to Reduce Pandemic’s Economic Fallout, Mayor Says”