Data Showed That 926 People Experiencing Homelessness Were Counted in Santa Monica.
The City of Santa Monica recently published the results of the 2023 Homeless Count held in January. The data showed that 926 people experiencing homelessness were counted in Santa Monica, which is a 15% increase from the 807 individuals counted during the City’s 2022 Homeless Count.
The results also revealed that compared to last year, 73 more individuals were counted on the street and in vehicles, while 46 more individuals were counted in the Shelter and Institutional count, which includes emergency motels, shelters, hospitals, and the Santa Monica jail.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is expected to release the results of the 2023 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count between June and September of this year, which will provide a context for Santa Monica’s results within the County. Preliminary analysis suggests that multiple factors may have contributed to this year’s increase.
As noted in 2022, the 11% decrease in overall homelessness compared to 2020 was due to the significant reduction in the local shelter capacity following COVID-19 public health guidance. In 2022, the number of individuals counted on the street and in vehicles increased by approximately 1%. As public health guidelines eased, shelter capacity increased, allowing more individuals to obtain shelter beds than in 2022.
Furthermore, while local shelter capacity has increased since the 2022 Count, the temporary regional motel shelter capacity implemented during the pandemic continued to wind down, including the 50-room Project Roomkey facility in Venice. This regional demobilization and decrease in the availability of motel rooms may have contributed to an increase in demand on local shelters, which in turn increased shelter counts, and possibly the street count as individuals were displaced from neighboring motels.
Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis said, “Addressing homelessness is a top priority for the City Council. It is an absolute tragedy that more than 66,000 people are experiencing homelessness in LA County, and Santa Monica remains committed to doing our part to advocate for our most vulnerable community members and connect them to housing and services.”
Santa Monica City Manager David White added, “Acknowledging the urgent need to address the mounting impacts of homelessness, the Council declared a Local Emergency on Homelessness on February 14, 2023. This action, combined with an infusion of funds from the passage of Measures CS and GS, will allow us to seize this moment of public support to expand and implement evidence-based best practices and cut through obstacles both internally and in working with our regional partners.”