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LA County looking for 6000 volunteers to help count homeless population in January

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28:  Homeless people rest on a public sidewalk February 28, 2013 in downtown skid row area of Los Angeles, California.  Los Angeles officials will ask U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court ruling preventing the destruction and random seizures of belongings that homeless people leave temporarily unatteneded on public sidewalks. The lower court ruling has hindered cleanup efforts.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Homeless people rest on a public sidewalk February 28, 2013 in downtown skid row area of Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles officials will ask U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court ruling preventing the destruction and random seizures of belongings that homeless people leave temporarily unatteneded on public sidewalks. The lower court ruling has hindered cleanup efforts. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is in its final push to find 6,000 volunteers for the annual homeless count in Los Angeles County. 

The project, which is mandated by the federal government, requires U.S. cities to count the number of people living on the streets each year in late January.

"It’s not just about counting," said George McQuade, a spokesman with L.A.’s Homeless Services Authority. "It’s what we do with that .. to get them more permanent supportive housing."

An accurate count helps federal and local government prepare for the coming year, he said - and assess if they’re making progress in the fight to end homelessness. It also sheds light on the demographics of people hit by homelessness and poverty.

This year's homeless count will take place from January 27-29. And Los Angeles has unique challenges. It has the largest homeless population in the country - more than 35,000 people - spread out over 4,000 square miles. 

Each day of the homeless count, volunteers will focus on one area of the county, beginning with the San Gabriel Valley. Volunteers will be organized in teams led by members of the county's homeless agency, with assistance from local law enforcement. 

For more information about how to volunteer, go to LAHSA.org