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Palisades Park, which overlooks the Santa Monica Pier seen in the background, is not only a popular destination for tourists but also for many the cities estimated 2,300 to 3,000 homeless individuals.
Photo from the Cherub's Learning Center's website, www.cherubslearning.org
Palisades Park, which overlooks the Santa Monica Pier seen in the background, is not only a popular destination for tourists but also for many the cities estimated 2,300 to 3,000 homeless individuals.

News, City Council, Homelessness

Action Plan for Homelessness Adopted by Santa Monica' City Council

Posted Jan. 13, 2011, 11:52 pm

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

Santa Monica's City Council members unanimously adopted the 2010 updates to the “Action Plan to Address Homelessness in Santa Monica” at the council meeting on Jan. 11 at City Hall.

In hearing a staff report on the “outcomes of the homeless service system” and taking comments from the public, the council acknowledged and supported the findings and recommendations announced by the City’s Homeless Social Services division.

“The effectiveness of the Action Plan is measured primarily by the reduction of street homelessness,” said Setareh Yavari, who presented the Action Plan and its 2010 update to the council during the public hearing. “The 2010 homelessness count demonstrated a 25 percent reduction since 2007. In order to sustain this reduction in homelessness, it is critical that resources are aligned with activities that are effective in engaging and housing those live on the streets. Since November 2009, we’ve used over $200,000 in direct financial assistance … to prevent 162 Santa Monica residents from becoming homeless.”

With the 2010 updates to the Action Plan, both the City and its Homeless Social Services division hope to address the eradication of homelessness throughout the city by establishing certain benchmark goals, such as the reducing the amount of time people are homeless, increasing income via eligibility of certain benefits, improving housing retention, and maintaining services for those transitioning from living on the streets and into homes.

While council members did not have an extensive discussion of the agenda item beyond a 15-minute question-and-answer session, Council member Bobby Shriver said both the 2010 updates to the Action Plan and the measure as a whole was essential to both the City’s financial health and overall well-being.

“One of the things I learned when I started to look hard at this issue was how much cheaper it is to house people than it is to leave them in the street,” Bobby Shriver said. “Folks who we may see walking around with a pushcart … isn’t costing the government or anybody any money, whereas the truth is folks in that kind of situation cost the government hundreds of thousands of dollar per year, and we don’t really achieve any rate of return on that investment.

“It’s much, much, much cheaper to put people in apartments than it is to leave them on the street.”

Meanwhile, David Snow, executive director of the Santa Monica-based Upward Bound House, an emergency shelter providing services to families with children and seniors, offered suggestions to the council on how to enhance the City’s efforts to address homelessness under the Action Plan.

“(First), families with children whose permanent last address was Santa Monica would get priority status,” Snow told the council. “While we support the city’s objective of reducing the average staying in emergency and transitional housing by 30 percent … there needs to be commensurate housing resources to achieve this.”

Adopted by the council in February 2008, the Action Plan “established a vision statement, guiding principles, and suggested refinements to the City’s homeless service system within six project areas: services, housing, evaluation, community education, public policy, and regional collaboration.”

Slightly more than one year ago, the council adopted a similar plan for 2009 with updated initiatives and the new intent of being a “living document,” meaning the Action Plan to Address Homelessness in Santa Monica would regularly be revised and updated to “reflect new approaches”

One of the new approaches discussed was improved measures of sobriety programs.

With the 2010 updates, the Action Plan is now consistent with the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which redefines “who is eligible for homeless assistance, re-configuring existing homeless program funds, placing new emphasis on homeless prevention, and increasing the emphasis on grantee performance.”

Also, the 2010 updates to the Action Plan corroborate a November 2009 update to federal policy spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to eradicate homelessness among veterans within five years.

According to the executive summary of the 2010 update of the Action Plan to Address Homelessness, “the intention of this revised Action Plan is to continue the successful strategies of Year 1 and Year 2 while also developing a more long-term approach that is reflective of significant new federal policies that will impact the resources and program areas in homeless services and homeless prevention over the next five to ten years.”

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Comments

Jan. 14, 2011, 5:47:41 am

Bijan said...

The published picture presenting the homeless people at Ocean Park is the evidence that there has not been any reduction in homelessness in Santa Monica as is claimed to be by 25% by Ms. Setareh Yavari. At the same time the economical development regarding building new hospitals on 16th Street and Santa Monica Mall although is the source of income for the state and the city yet the city have not given the renters the balancing power regarding landlords forcing the families or seniors to evicted and thereby homeless, in another word they are the victims in part by the city poor negotiation with landlords letting them having the tools to evict people. At the same time development of the new land use is not been effective nor protecting the cities low income - poor and those whom are just about to be evicted. The neighbors’ around the 17th - 16th and Arizona streets are yet another examples. In the other, hand most of the Landlords live just above Montana and or in the City of Beverly Hills where they have been spared by this land development. This matter is not the city fault but rather is a systematic abuse of low income and poor people by proprietors whom are after more profit and thereby expansion of their social or political influence where they can implement their idea in further abuse or poorest people. City of Santa Monica was not built by rich but rather become a place for all humankind to coexist, unfortunately this trend seams to be shifting which indicating the fact of increased homelessness in the City of Santa Monica.

Jan. 18, 2011, 6:04:25 am

mom said...

DOES ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND BELIEVE THIS IN SANTA MONICA? SM HOUSED HOW MANY/?

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