Horvath complimented him on his shirt.
“I do the best that I can,” Gary said. “It goes with my pitchfork.”
He had been homeless for about three months, sleeping in different locations at night.
“We are here to help you — that’s our first priority,” Horvath told Gary as he gave him a handout with details about PATH Achieve, the city’s largest nonprofit homeless services organization.
Horvath then asked him a few questions about his age, birth location and possible substance addictions for the city’s homeless count.
The Glendale Homeless Coalition conducts the count all week to get an estimate of how many transients live in the city.
They enlist the help of several volunteers, PATH Achieve Glendale street team members and city employees, who scour the streets looking for homeless men and women.
This year, the coalition set up tables outside the city’s Central Library, the Social Security Administration building, Verdugo Jobs Center and the winter shelter at the Glendale National Guard Armory.
Getting a count of the number of homeless men and women is critical for the city because federal funding applications are based in large part on need.
About 80% of PATH Achieve Glendale’s budget comes from federal funding, said Natalie Profant Komuro, the organization’s executive director.
And results of the count will affect Glendale’s application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, she said.
If the volunteers and city employees didn’t count the homeless, Profant Komuro said the city wouldn’t get enough funding to provide services.
“So, this is very important,” she said.
According to the 2009 point-in-time count, 306 adults and children were homeless in Glendale. Of those, 57 were children younger than 18.
And 84 had a chronic mental illness, 10 had HIV or AIDS, and 22 were veterans.
Less than half of the 306 were part of a family, while 157 were single homeless adults.
Eugene Stroko, 53, used to be homeless and lived on Glendale streets for more than 20 years.
Now, he’s staying at a sober-living facility after battling alcoholism.
Stroko said he often provides his transient friends in Glendale with some friendly advice on pulling out of homelessness.
“I am helping them with what I already know,” he said.