Addressing Homelessness: Updates on the city’s housing efforts

April 24, 2024 10:23 AM
by Heather Averick

As the city’s Housing and Human Services Department approaches one year as a standalone department, I want to share some positive and exciting changes that have taken place in recent months in the Housing Division. We are continuously innovating and improving thanks to the incredibly dedicated team that makes up our department.

One of our key priorities is addressing the housing crisis. This includes everything from funding permanent supportive housing, partnering with nonprofits on affordable housing projects, and helping Santa Monicans stay housed through a variety of voucher programs and funding of supportive services through nonprofit partners in the city.

The Santa Monica Housing Authority is now open to the public
In response to requests from the community and members of our programs, it’s our goal to make Housing Division services easily accessible to community members.

As part of our increased effort to support the community, the Santa Monica Housing Authority opened its doors to the public in February. Our dedicated frontline staff are now stationed in Suite 180, conveniently located near the east entrance of City Hall, with walk-in hours Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We now have a dedicated phone line where callers can speak directly to a member of the Santa Monica Housing Authority staff Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Staff can be reached at (310) 458-8740 or via email at

Beginning in May, as part of a pilot program, the Housing Division will offer in-person bilingual office hours (in Spanish and English) once a month at Virginia Avenue Park to answer questions from applicants interested in our Below Market Housing and Preserving Our Diversity programs. Office hours will be the third Wednesday of the month from 4:30-7 p.m.

Senior renters getting increased benefits
The Preserving Our Diversity (POD) program provides eligible low-income, long-term Santa Monica senior renters with monthly cash assistance to meet basic needs. The program launched in 2019 as a pilot, utilizing the UCLA Elder Index to determine the assistance amount.

Based on authority in the City Council’s emergency order on homelessness, the city will implement an inflation adjustment to the assistance amounts for the 205 current POD enrollees. The adjustment aligns with the Consumer Price Index and the average monthly assistance is set to increase by 30 percent in May. This will help ensure that vulnerable seniors in our community have income to continue to keep up with inflationary costs on basic needs items such as food and medicine.

We are working on other efforts that would also help expand POD participation.

Move-in day for The Laurel
The Laurel is a permanent supportive housing community funded in part by the city and developed by EAH, offering 57 apartments for formerly homeless Santa Monicans. It is scheduled to open in May, with residents from Santa Monica Housing Authority’s Permanent Supportive Housing waitlist ready to move in. 

Permanent supportive housing is affordable housing paired with onsite services, including case management, to help individuals gain housing stability, remain housed and begin achieving goals such as employment and improved health. Services offered also include classes on budgeting and other life skills such as nutrition and cooking, substance abuse support, help applying for benefits programs, food pantry resources, employment assistance and more.  

Berkeley Station groundbreaking
On Friday, April 26, Community Corporation of Santa Monica, in partnership with the city, will host a groundbreaking ceremony for Berkeley Station, Santa Monica’s newest affordable housing development.

Berkeley Station will offer 13 units of 100 percent affordable housing for low-income families and transition-aged youth. It will offer residents a community garden, a rooftop deck, laundry facilities, a central courtyard and terrace garden and community room for resident programming and activities.

Advancing affordable housing on city-owned sites
As outlined in the city’s approved Housing Element, the Housing and Human Services Department continues to work with other interdepartmental teams to move forward progress to develop affordable housing on city-owned properties.

On April 9, the City Council approved a design concept by developer EAH for the city-owned site at 1318 4th St. that includes a mix of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, along with ground floor retail and residential and commercial parking spaces. This development, which is funded in part by $2 million in federal funding secured by Congressman Ted Lieu, brings the city one step closer to adding approximately 122 affordable apartments, including 50 permanent supportive housing apartments, to the site. Learn more here.

On March 19, the City Council approved moving forward with developer Hollywood Community Housing Corporation to add approximately 130 affordable apartments on three city-owned properties at 1217 Euclid Street, 1211-1217 14th Street and 1146 16th Street. Learn more here.

As outlined in the Housing Element, the city will release its next RFP for a city-owned site in summer 2025.

For more information and resources on housing, click here.

Authored By

Heather Averick
Director of Housing and Human Services


Housing, Programs