SANTA MONICA—On Thursday, May 31, the Los Angeles County Homelessness Services Agency (LAHSA) released countywide homeless count numbers for 2018 showing a decrease of 3 percent with 53,195 people living on the street.
In a press release Canyon News received from Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer for the city of Santa Monica, it is the first countywide decrease in 4 years. Santa Monica saw a 4 percent increase with more individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness living on the streets and in cars.
“The Santa Monica City Council had the forethought to make a one-time investment of $1.4 million in street engagement activities last November,” said Senior Advisor on Homelessness Alisa Orduña. “We’re beginning to see these investments pay off both in terms of the number of people connected to services and new levels of regional collaboration. The countywide release signals this shift and gives us all momentum to continue to forge ahead.”
The November funding is supporting the expansion of homeless outreach services across the city including an additional multi-disciplinary outreach team in Downtown Santa Monica, a social worker and additional service officers at the Library, and additional officers for the Santa Monica Police Department Homeless Liaison Program (HLP Team). These resources combined with existing programs like West Coast Care and the Homeless Multidisciplinary Team participated with over 250 people since April 1, when the new programs launched.
The city of Santa Monica is aware of the the vital role of community engagement as it seeks to apply its strategies so that the public is aware and can participate in doubling down on this regional human crisis. Santa Monica recently released a toolkit about homelessness for residents, businesses, and workers in Santa Monica. The 13-page booklet offers resources based on questions raised by the community. Homelessness is one of the Santa Monica City Council’s top five strategic goals. The toolkit is part of the city’s efforts over the last seven months to double down on its commitment to making an impact on homelessness.
The homelessness toolkit is available in print and digital formats in English and Spanish. Here is a look at what is included:
-Background on homelessness and its emergence as a regional crisis.
-Information about how to contact the experts, including trained staff that knows what to do and how to call for assistance in different circumstances.
-A recap of how the City of Santa Monica, LA County and State of California partners are working on this issue.
-Tips on knowing what to say, how to make a difference and advocate for change.
-Ways to get involved, including a full list of service providers working in the area.
The toolkit is part of the We Are Santa Monica initiative that has the aim of encouraging members of the community from all sectors to join the city in taking action to address issues of homelessness. To stay informed, sign up for the email list at weare.santamonica.gov.
“Information can open the door to have meaningful engagement with our community,” said Chief Communications Officer Debbie Lee. “Homelessness is an important issue in our city and across the county. This toolkit provides our locals the latest on the City of Santa Monica’s efforts and how our community can come together to make a difference.”
The city will deliver a toolkit to every Santa Monica address in the June edition of Seascape. Additional copies will be distributed through the networks of our local businesses, school districts, nonprofits and other community organizations. A digital version of the toolkit can be downloaded at weare.santamonica.gov. For residents wanting printed copies of the toolkit, email the city at firstname.lastname@example.org.