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Impact of Homeless Programs Measured in Report

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By Jorge Casuso

August 2, 2022 -- From April through June, Santa Monica's three multidisciplinary outreach teams made more than 11,000 contacts with homeless persons, according to the latest Homelessness Report to the City Council.

The contacts resulted in 808 participants receiving direct medical or psychiatric services, while 57 individuals were placed into interim housing and 24 into permanent housing.

In addition, the Police Department's HELP team issued 254 citations and made 41 arrests, while Downtown Santa Monica Park Ambassadors addressed 1,047 sleeping violations and disposed 138 drug paraphernalia.

Those are among the activities outlined in the latest Homelessness Workplan, which provides quarterly reports on the City's efforts to directly connect with the homeless individuals.

The workplan "provides both structure and streamlined processes for tracking and reporting the City’s efforts across departments, tying each activity to clear community needs and establishing metrics for measuring impacts," according the the report issued last Thursday.

Other highlights of the report include the following:

  • Six homeless persons moved into apartments with emergency housing vouchers that were issued to 63 applicants.

  • Two homeless individuals graduated from Homeless Community Court, which connects repeat offenders with supportive services.

  • The fire Department's Community Response Unit (CRU) -- which helps treat and transport those experiencing a health or behavior crisis -- answered 88 9-1-1 calls for service.

  • County Department of Mental Health clinicians conducted 227 mental health crisis evaluations and made 528 referrals to programs and resources.

  • West Coast Care, which reunites the homeless with family and friends, contacted 227 persons, resulting in 20 being permanently housed.
  • Library Services Officers recorded 71 incidents "attributed to people who appeared to be homeless."

A report City officials released in January found that the City is currently spending nearly $5 million a year to directly connect with the homeless individuals who live on the streets ("Santa Monica Spends Some $5 Million a Year in Homeless Outreach, Report Says," January 20, 2022).

That cost does not include the outreach conducted by Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.'s 18 hospitality ambassadors, 14 parks ambassadors and five quality of life ambassadors, whose work is "primarily proactive."

According to the year's homeless count, which was conducted in February, Santa Monica's homeless population dropped from 907 in 2020 to 807, but the number of those living on the streets has remained flat ("Santa Monica's Homeless Population Drops During COVID," May 5, 2022).

A total of 54 homeless persons died in Santa Monica over the past two years -- 24 in 2020 and 30 last year, according to data from the County Coroner ("Two Homeless Persons a Month Die in Santa Monica," May 4, 2022).

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