SANTA MONICA—On January 27, the city of Santa Monica will hold the 2016 Annual Homeless Count from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. at the St. Monica Catholic Community-Grand Pavilion located on 725 California Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403.
The nation-wide Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Survey serves as a way to collect information on the number of individuals and families who are living in shelters or on the streets.
According to the city of Santa Monica website, the count is a requirement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to track each community’s progress in leading efforts to end homelessness. While managed by HUD every two years, Santa Monica started conducting a Homeless Count on an annual basis in 2010 as a means of rapidly identifying and responding to trends within the homeless population.
The count results have a direct impact on the amount of federal funds allocated nationally to homeless programs and how the funds are to be distributed. The count and demographic survey offers information in regards to who is experiencing homelessness and where they are located.
Over 250 community volunteers and city staff members gathered together on January 28, 2015, to tally homeless individuals within each street in Santa Monica, equaling a total of 226 linear miles. The homeless individuals counted were sleeping outdoors, in cars, RVs, and tents. Staff members within each facility in the city also counted the homeless individuals in shelters, jails, and hospitals.
During the Social Services Commission meeting on February 23, the city of Santa Monica presented the findings of the citywide 2015 Homeless Count.
The January 28, 2015 Point-in-Time Homeless count found 738 homeless individuals, which was a decrease from 742 individuals (0.5 percent) in 2014. The street count included 402 homeless individuals, an increase from 346 individuals (16 percent) in 2014. Additionally, within the street count, occupied vehicles & encampments totaled 73 homeless individuals, an increase from 57 individuals (28 percent) in 2014. The shelter and institution population was 336 in 2015, which is a decrease from 396 (15 percent) in 2014.
The Action Plan to Address Homelessness, implemented by the City in 2008, has continued to be a guide in responding to Homelessness in Santa Monica. The city of Santa Monica states that the Action Plan, “defines the City’s priority homeless population, which includes those individuals who have a well-known presence in Santa Monica for five years or more; were permanently housed in Santa Monica at the time they became homeless; are members of the local workforce; or are high-users of City emergency services.”
The Action Plan emphasizes “coordination with local service providers to engage individuals, identify housing and ensure that local resources are dedicated to the City’s priority population,” as stated in a city of Santa Monica 2015 news report. “The City’s unique interdepartmental coordination between Community and Cultural Services, Santa Monica Police Department, Santa Monica Fire Department, City Attorney’s Office and Housing and Economic Development, in partnership with local social service agencies continues to connect people from the streets into services and housing.”
Currently, the Santa Monica Homeless Count of 2016 is in need of 250 volunteers on the evening of January 27. To register visit: http://www.santamonicahomelesscount.com/