When people think of us, many envision a wealthy beach community dotted with hip boutiques and bistros overlooking beautiful sunsets.
But here in Santa Monica we face stark, complicated issues—including homelessness—like any other city. In fact after seven years of stability, our homeless population spiked significantly this year (2017) to 921. This is a 26 percent increase over 2016. It’s part of a regional homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County, which also saw a 23 percent increase that stems from a lack of affordable housing.
Believe it or not, the problem was once even worse. In 2005, we counted nearly 2,000 people experiencing homelessness!
So we’ve confronted the problem by prioritizing those who need help the most and getting them into housing as quickly as we can, through an approach called Housing First.
Here are lessons we’re taking to heart as we continue our work.
[For more of this story, written by Maggie Willis, go to http://www.rwjf.org/en/culture...gI&et_cid=923384]