June 19, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Program to Help Low-Income Seniors Expanded but Concerns Raised Over Implementation, Readjustments

City Council funds $2 million for POD

By Sam Catanzaro

As Santa Monica City Council approves $2 million to expand a program to keep low-income seniors housed, questions remain surrounding implementation and readjustments for recipients. 

Santa Monica City Council originally approved the Preserving Our Diversity (POD) Pilot 1 program in July 2017, a cash assistance program to help low-income seniors meet their basic needs. 

Pilot 1 began providing direct assistance in November 2017 and concluded in January 2019. According to Andy Agle, Director of Housing and Economic Development for Santa Monica’s Housing Division, during the 14 months, 22 participants were enrolled. After Pilot 1, 17 participants remained enrolled and 5 participants exited the program. Three participants remain housed in the City and are now assisted through voucher programs, one participant moved to another city and one participant passed away. 

Council’s action last week expands Pilot 1 from a $300,000 one-time budget item to an expanded program with an annual budget of $2 million to serve up to 400 participants. 

“The Preserving Our Diversity Program maintains the dignity of our seniors who quietly struggle with rent, food, and housing insecurity,” said Mayor Gleam Davis. “By adding hundreds of long-time senior residents to the program, we will make a dent in the affordability crisis that often requires seniors to choose between paying rent or medical bills and even raises the specter of homelessness.”

The only change to the POD program threshold eligibility requirement is an increase in the minimum eligible age from 62 to 65 to maximize program participation and funding, according to Agle. 

Under Pilot 2, recalculation of assistance will occur when a household reports that their income has increased or decreased by more than $200 per month, or if a household’s rent has increased by more than $100. However, an annual reexamination of a household’s income and recalculation of assistance is not part of Pilot 2, with the City saying it is too labor-intensive and additional staffing would be needed to implement annual reexaminations and recalculations. 

Under Pilot 2, readjustments based on household income will take place after five years. While the Council approved Pilot 2 unanimously, Councilmember Sue Himmelrich expressed concern that not annually reexamining a household’s income could have negative consequences if a recipient’s income decreases or if they are hit with a medical bill not covered by insurance. 

“I work in these issues all the time and there are small shifts that change people’s lives and put them out on the streets and that is why I am concerned about that procedure,” Himmelrich said. 

This concern was also echoed by Danielle Charney, who participated in Pilot 1. 

“The amounts being suggested to trigger an adjustment are so unreasonable, that the already depressed seniors living in poverty will see little in the way of joy or hope much less food by the third year,” Charney said. 

In addition to concerns over lack of annual adjustments, the Santa Monica Housing Commission raised questions about the rollout of the program. 

“The Housing Commission believes that it is worth a one-time expenditure of $100,000 or less of HTF [Housing Trust Fund] monies to create an additional one-year-only full-time position to assure timely implementation of the new POD ramp-up and the new City maintenance of the waiting lists for all affordable housing opportunities in accordance with City preference policies,” said Michael E. Soloffe, Chair of the Housing Commission writing on behalf of the Commission in a letter to Council. “While it is possible that the desired results could be timely achieved without this one-time expenditure, the cost to the needy senior residents and to those who work and live in Santa Monica from any delays should they occur are so great that the Housing Commissioners believe it is worthwhile to invest in this additional position for the next year only in an effort to assure avoidance of those delays to the maximum extent reasonably possible.”

Soloffe, it should be noted, is the husband of Councilmember Himmelrich. 

As part of its vote, City Council asked that the Housing Commission review the pilot as it progresses in response to concerns raised over implantation and lack of annual adjustments. 

The application period is anticipated to open in early winter with participants being enrolled on a rolling basis throughout 2020.

in News
Related Posts

Yoga Gurus Sentenced for Defrauding Malibu Doctor

June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

Dr. Sawusch Had a Successful Medical Practice in Pacific Palisades and Amassed Significant Wealth Through Investments A federal judge sentenced...

Thief Steals $4K of Jewelry from 3rd Street Promenade Store

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

The Owner Says a Similar “Smash-And-Grab” Incident Took Place Earlier This Year By Zach Armstrong A Ring camera placed inside...

Homeless Man Arrested in Santa Monica for Burglary and Arson

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Suspect Faces Multiple Charges After Incidents Patrol officers responded to a commercial burglary call on Saturday, May 25, at approximately...

Baby Blues BBQ Reopens in Venice Nearly Two Years After Devastating Fire

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

The Eatery Has Been Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and the Food Network By Zach Armstrong Almost two years after...

Tech Entrepreneur and Developer Company Buy Promenade Shops for $103M: Report

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

Acquisitions Include 1202, 1222, 1225, 1232, 1339, and 1344 Third Street Promenade Federal Realty Investment Trust has sold eight parcels...

Malibu Volunteers on Patrol Quell Car Fire, Prevent Brush Blaze

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

VOPs Respond Quickly to Incident on Kanan Dume Road. Malibu Volunteers on Patrol Unit 100V3 responded to a car fire...

Acclaimed Sandwich Pop-Up Opens Flagship Store in Santa Monica

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

Bread Head Was Launched by Chefs Alex Williams and Jordan Snyder By Zach Armstrong Bread Head, a Los Angeles eatery...

Brand New, Six-Bed Palisades Mansion Hits Market at $34M

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

The lower level boasts a bar, lounge, wine tasting room, home theater, and a full spa with a gym A...

Michelin-Starred Chef James Kent Passes Away, Saga Hospitality Group Announces

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Chef Kent Is Remembered for His Culinary Excellence and Charity Work The Saga Hospitality Group announced the death of Michelin-starred...

Film Review: Longlegs

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

LONGLEGS is pure poetic eldritch terror. From the very beginning, director Osgood Perkins uses the actors’ performances, cinematography, and even...

Slain Jameson’s Pub Manager Described as a “Provider and Father Figure” by Loved Ones

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

His Last Days Were Spent Taking His Niece and Nephew Out for Ice Cream By Zach Armstrong  Family members, friends...

Marina del Rey Sportfishing: A Great Day on the Water

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Fishing is a pastime like no other. You can experience the nostalgia of that pastime in real time at Marina...

Fatal Altercation Outside Santa Monica Pub Leads to Homicide Charge

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Venice Resident Charged in Death of Jameson’s Pub Manager A man has been charged with homicide following a fatal altercation...

Film Reviews: Bad Boys: Ride or Die

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

FILM REVIEWBad Boys: Ride or DieRated R115 MinutesReleased June 7th Bad Boys: Ride or Die is the fourth installment in...

Cypress Equity Investments Acquires Santa Monica Retail Center for $7M

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

The Retail Center Was Sold for 274% Above the Santa Monica Market Average Cypress Equity Investments has acquired a prime...