People Experiencing Homelessness Get Connected at the Library
February 27, 2019
by Rachel Foyt
This article originally appeared in the February edition of Seascape.
Santa Monica’s Main Library hosted six “pop-up” Resource Fairs in partnership with the City’s Human Services Division, local service providers, and government agencies. The Resource Fairs take place in the second floor Multipurpose Room and provide an opportunity for “one-stop shopping” for homeless individuals in need of housing, healthcare and other services.
The Resource Fairs are part of the Library’s efforts to build relationships and connect homeless individuals to vital services provided by organizations such as The People Concern (formerly OPCC), Chrysalis, LA County Department of Social Services, and LA County Department of Mental Health. One of the newest agencies is SHARE! Collaborative Housing, a public-private partnership providing affordable, permanent supportive housing to low-income and disabled people in single-family residences throughout Los Angeles County.
Since the first Resource Fair in October 2017, 310 people have received information and referrals from 15 service providers specializing in public benefits, counseling, case management, housing assistance, employment services, healthcare, and services for transitional-aged youth. Attendance at the Resource Fairs is growing, with 79 individuals connecting to services at the most recent event in November 2018.
The Library also offers regularly scheduled office hours with a representative from The People Concern for those seeking support due to homelessness. Individuals can walk in or make appointments with an outreach worker to learn about and sign up for services in a confidential setting. Connecting our most vulnerable patrons with critically needed services is an integral part of the Library’s role in serving the community.
On Wednesday, January 23, more than 250 volunteers participated in the City’s annual Homeless Count. Thanks to all who helped measure progress toward addressing homelessness! Results will be announced at a City Council meeting later this Spring.