Homelessness in Santa Monica
April 28, 2011
About The 2011 Homeless Count
Homeless counts are mandated every two years (on odd-numbered years) by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for all communities that receive federal homeless funds. In 2011, Santa Monica participated in the largest homeless count in the country, conducted throughout Los Angeles County by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). LAHSA is expected to release county-wide findings in the summer of 2011, which may further inform the results of the City of Santa Monica’s efforts. Putting the City’s findings in the context of the region and county may identify trends that are not evident by reviewing the City’s data alone. LAHSA’s results will also include demographic and special needs information, a youth homelessness count, and estimates of “hidden homelessness” which are applied across county regions using statistical projections based on sample surveys which may or may not contain data actually collected in the City.
In 2010, the City began conducting a Homeless Count on an annual basis. Employing the improved methodology implemented in the 2009 Homeless Count, we are able to accurately compare results on a year-to-year basis. This annual data serves as an important benchmark from which future changes in homelessness will be tracked and the success of local efforts to reduce homelessness will be evaluated.
The 2011 Santa Monica Homeless Count showed no change in the number of homeless individuals living in Santa Monica over the past year.
· The overall homeless population is nearly static from 2010
o 2007 total = 999
o 2009 total = 915 (8% reduction over 2007)
o 2010 total = 742 (18.9% reduction over 2009 / 25% reduction over 2007)
o 2011 total = 740 (sustained the reduction of previous years)
· The point-in-time homeless count is 740
o This includes a point-in-time street homeless population of 263, a shelter and institutions population of 426 individuals, and 51 cars/encampments.
o The street count identified no un-sheltered families. Of the sheltered population, 101 (24%) were identified as members of families.
Given the economic stresses of the past several years, it is a testament to the efforts of the City and the local service providers that the numbers of homeless people have not increased. Especially of note is the continued absence of families living on the streets and the continued reduction in people living in their vehicles. This may be attributed in part to the availability of homeless prevention assistance through federal stimulus funds received by the City in fall 2009. The Eviction Prevention and Rehousing Assistance (EPRA) Program has helped over a hundred people from experiencing homelessness to date. In addition, while new homeless individuals may continue to migrate to the City, the City’s focus on permanent housing for chronically homeless Santa Monica residents through a Housing First model contributes to the “no-net-gain” of the street homelessness count.
On January 26, 2011, over 150 community volunteers were divided into 59 small teams, each of which was assigned a specific geographic area of the city. Together, volunteers covered every street and alley in Santa Monica – a total of 226 linear miles. Volunteers were instructed to tally every homeless individual they encountered as well as every car, RV, tent or box in which someone appeared to be living. Homeless individuals in shelters, jails, motels, and hospitals were simultaneously counted by staff at each facility in the city. This method of visual enumeration is one that is accepted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is used by many other communities across the country, including Los Angeles County. While larger jurisdictions employ a mix of a visual count in selected census tracts combined with a statistical projection of homelessness in un-counted tracts, the City has chosen to do a full visual count of all 19 census tracts within the city boundaries.