Santa Monica Homeless Count Shows Increase in Homelessness

Regional and local tax measures are coming at a time when a coordinated approach is needed more than ever

May 9, 2017

Santa Monica Homeless Count Shows Increase in Homelessness

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The City of Santa Monica conducted its annual Homeless Count on the night of January 25, 2017 in sync with the rest of L.A. County. The results were presented to the Santa Monica City Council this evening at its May 9 meeting. Results show an increase of 193 individuals over last year or a difference of 26%. Here’s a look at top line metrics, which will be further informed by the outcome of countywide numbers expected in June from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

  • The 2017 point-in-time homeless count total is up 26% from 728 individuals in 2016 to 921.
  • The street count is up 39% from 416 in 2016 to 581.
  • Individuals sleeping in vehicles/encampments is up 26% from 73 in 2016 to 92.
  • Shelter and institution population is up 9% from 312 in 2016 to 340.

Demographic surveys shed further light on who is coming into Santa Monica and from where:

  • New to Santa Monica – 29% report being in Santa Monica for less than 1 month.
  • Originate outside the City – 46% come to Santa Monica from other parts of Los Angeles County; 32% come from out of state.

The significant increase since last year demonstrates that the City is directly impacted by the regional homeless crisis. Last year, the regional count reported in excess of 46,000 people experiencing homelessness and 76% living on the street. Santa Monica’s strategic approach to assisting people who are homeless has long focused on reaching the most vulnerable first: those suffering from chronic homelessness, acute medical needs, or disabilities. The growing regional demands has pushed Santa Monica’s homeless service system beyond capacity, leaving the most vulnerable unsheltered and without adequate care.

“Homelessness impacts everyone in our city from the individuals suffering on the streets to residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Mayor Ted Winterer. “This issue is one of City Council’s strategic goals and we are invested in regional collaboration to end this crisis.”

Building upon decades of local investment and coordination, City Council adopted taking a leadership role in regional efforts to address homelessness as a top five strategic goal in 2015. The City’s ongoing work prioritizes housing and services for the most vulnerable individuals who have been on Santa Monica streets the longest, providing safety net services to prevent Santa Monica residents from becoming homeless, and collaborating with regional partners to improve capacity county-wide.

Recent activities include:

  • Voting to enact Measure GSH, a local transaction and use tax, a portion of which will fund affordable housing in Santa Monica.
  • Taking a regional approach and working to align new resource investments through L.A. County Measure H and City of L.A. Proposition HHH with existing local needs and to build capacity in surrounding communities to reduce impacts locally.
  • Piloting the Homeless Multi-Disciplinary Street Team, serving the top 25 highest users of first responder services, and providing intensive services and housing.
  • Supporting low-income residents vulnerable to losing their housing through flexible funding for eviction prevention, housing rights education and protection, tenant harassment and eviction defense through Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and the Senior Housing Taskforce to prevent low-income seniors from eviction and homelessness.
  • Spreading the word to residents and businesses, encouraging people to:
    • Volunteer at agencies that provide services and housing
    • Donate to agencies that move people into housing
    • Advocate for increased supply of affordable housing

For more information, please see the attached and visit www.smgov.net/homelessness.

About the Homeless Count Methodology

Homeless counts are mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. To conduct the Count, over 250 community volunteers and City staff covered each street in Santa Monica – a total of 226 linear miles – to tally homeless individuals sleeping outdoors, as well as in cars, RVs, and tents. Homeless persons in shelters, jails and hospitals were also counted at each facility. The Count is conducted overnight to better identify individuals sleeping in the City, and represents the number of people identified as experiencing homelessness on a single night. The Count is not a cumulative number of people who may experience homelessness throughout the year, nor does it fully represent the number of homeless people who may be present in the City during daytime hours, but sleep elsewhere.

More Resources

Fact Sheet >

Homeless Count Graph >

Results Map >

Homeless Count 2017 Photos >

Presentation to Council May 9, 2017 >

Information Item (historical context) >

Santa Monica Addressing Homelessness website >

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