The declaration will enable the city to advocate for additional resources and funding at the county, state and federal levels
By Sam Catanzaro
The City of Santa Monica joined a growing list of local jurisdictions by unanimously voting to declare a local emergency on homelessness at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The declaration will enable the city to advocate for additional resources and funding at the county, state and federal levels, as well as remove barriers to building affordable housing and incentivize production.
“Clearly, we all know that here in Santa Monica and in our region, addressing homelessness is a top concern,” said Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis. “As your mayor in the coming year, I promise to remain focused on this issue. I am already advocating from the federal level on down for more resources for housing and supportive services, and I am committed to working with other mayors in our region to address this regional issue.”
To declare a state of emergency, the Santa Monica City Council made necessary findings which included an increase in public safety calls for service, encampments, public deaths, arson and vandalism linked to homelessness. There are currently 809 homeless individuals in Santa Monica, part of More than 69,000 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County,
City Manager Rick White told the Council that they would see immediate action taken to address the crisis following the declaration. This includes freeing up $25 million in the City’s Affordable Housing Trust to finance shovel-ready projects as early as March and issuing requests for proposals (RFPs).
“The reality is that we cannot address this crisis on our own, and we need our regional, state, and federal partners to support us,” said Santa Monica City Manager David White. “By declaring a homelessness state of emergency, Santa Monica is poised to receive more resources.”
In addition, the Council will look into how to use an estimated $4.1 million a year generated by Measure CS—a voter-approved initiative that raises bed tax on hotels, motels and home shares—to address homelessness and public safety.
The proclamation is effective for 180 days to prioritize Santa Monica’s requests for resources and funding from its partners.