Of those sleeping on the streets of Santa Monica, 34 percent report being homeless in Santa Monica for over 10 years and 86 percent report being homeless in Santa Monica for over a year.
These are among the findings of the City’s Service Registry project – an effort to identify and gather information from the most vulnerable of the chronic homeless. Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom presided at what he termed a “report to the community” as the City’s Chronic Homelessness Project presented the results of the survey [Santa Monica Mirror, January 31-February 6].
On January 25, teams of City and partner agency staff counted 277 people between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. in the 13 geographic areas identified by the Santa Monica Police Department as the locations where clusters of long-term homeless people sleep. Then, during the same hours on the mornings of January 28-30, the same teams conducted a survey of persons they encountered in the same areas. A total of 261 interviews were completed, representing 94 percent of the population initially counted.
According to the survey, the average age of people sleeping on the street is 49 and the average years of homelessness is eight. Just over half (53 percent) report being homeless before coming to Santa Monica, and the top three reasons cited for choosing Santa Monica are weather, safety, and services. A majority (77.8 percent) are male, and 16 percent reported being a victim of violent attack.
The survey results were statistically analyzed according to a methodology developed by Dr. Jim O’Connell of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless to produce a Vulnerability Score to predict an individual’s likelihood of dying on the streets unless permanently housed. The Vulnerability Score is intended to provide an objective measure to prioritize the future efforts of the Chronic Homeless Project and other initiatives aimed at reducing street homelessness.
Of those interviewed in Santa Monica, 110 individuals (42.15 percent) met at least one high-risk criteria from the Vulnerability Index.
“Santa Monica continues to work with regional and national organizations to find solutions for the homeless, as well as to work locally in our community on effective strategies here,” said City Manager Lamont Ewell. “The Santa Monica vulnerability scores provided by this survey will allow us to focus our efforts and resources in a manner that has proven to create an immediate and lasting reduction in street homelessness.”