SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica is working to improve efforts in decreasing homelessness by providing assistance to the homeless population. 

“Through doubling down on outreach efforts, staff and partners made over 34,520 contacts with people experiencing homelessness, connecting them to housing and supportive services when resources were available,” said Alisa Orduna in a blog on the city of Santa Monica website. 

The city contains four pillars to address homelessness, one pillar which would prevent people from becoming homeless by providing affordable housing. The second is to address any health needs for residents. The third involves maintaining safe spaces for the population. The fourth is to strengthen Santa Monica’s regional capacity to address homelessness. 

According to the city of Santa Monica, there has been a 3 percent increase in homelessness since 2018. The unsheltered population grew by 1 percent due to an increase in vehicle homelessness. There has been a 19 percent decrease in the unsheltered population in the downtown area of Santa Monica.

The city of Santa Monica issued several steps in how they plan on improving homelessness in the region. The Santa Monica City Council voted to approve several steps in ways they believe will help anyone who is homeless. 

The steps to decrease the homeless population according to the City of Santa Monica:

• Work with neighboring communities through the Westside Cities Council of Governments’ homelessness strategic planning process to address regional needs.

• Create 140 permanent supportive housing units for homeless Santa Monicans and encourage other communities to do the same.

• Explore the feasibility of a behavioral health center in Santa Monica.

• Proceed with a feasibility analysis of possible sites for the replacement of the SAMOSHEL shelter and associated community engagement process.

• Advance the development of an innovation fund as a way to leverage the generosity of private entities interested in contributing to homelessness solutions.

• Continue funding to the City, County, Community (C3) teams to expand the current contract and explore additional funding to create a new C3 team possibly focused on the beach.

• Increase the number of officers in the Santa Monica Police Department Homeless Liaison Program to ten by September 2019, and propose to hire two additional officers by December 2019.

• Expand the capacity of the Preserving Our Diversity (POD) program to include additional participants.

• Leverage the Santa Monica Fire Department’s unique role in the community to connect housed vulnerable populations with the right resources to prevent homelessness and expand data collection of these incidents.

• Support siting of new homeless programs in neighboring communities outside of Santa Monica and to ensure that local nonprofits have adequate new resources to build capacity to meet growing demand created by expansion of homelessness services.

• Increase Beach Outreach Coordination by strengthening relationships between West Coast Care and businesses along Ocean Front Walk to increase engagement and homeless service connection.

The public can also get involved by going to where they can find how to get involved or learn more information about the future programs the city will be offering.