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Q: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to solving the homeless problem in Santa Monica?

TOD LIPKA
Executive Director,
Step Up on Second

A: The biggest obstacle is making the financial commitment necessary to solving homelessness. You canít solve homelessness if there is not the availability of the housing stock to house people. Further, while the homeless are a very diverse population, individuals who are homeless due to a mental illness have special needs and require a greater level of support services before and after they are housed in order to help them succeed at retaining their housing. This is proven to work, but it costs money.

BOBBY SHRIVER
Santa Monica
City Councilmember

A: The biggest obstacle to solving homelessness in Santa Monica is the lack of a regional authority. With 90,000 people living on the streets of Los Angeles County, all 88 cities must take responsibility for their fair share of work to end homelessness. This will only happen when an effective regional governing body is in place. This body must have a strong leader who is directly accountable to the voters.

JAMES T. BUTTS JR.
Chief of Police, SMPD

A: We have a temperate climate, a disproportionately large base (compared to our housed residential population) of homeless and a significant number of homeless services, including volunteer feeding programs from outside the city that make life on the streets physically sustainable over the long term. That combined with a lack of temporary and long-term housing for homeless persons in the county tends to make finding long-term solutions difficult.
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