Why Doesn't the City of Santa Monica Provide Immediate Shelter for the 800+ Homeless on the Streets?
Santa Monica Coalition proposes 4 city-owned sites for "safe sleeping"
May 10, 2023
May 2, 2023 - The Santa Monica Coalition released a YouTube video this week outlining four city-owned properties that could be used for what they term "short and near term safe sleeping sites" for the over 800 homeless last counted on the city's streets.
An email sent out with the video claims that there are no overnight shelters in Santa Monica or within an hour's drive that will accept the homeless for refuge between 5 pm and 8 am. "So they remain on our streets, in our parks and in our Parking Garages. At least 4 to 5 are dying every month." The email goes on to say that since declaring the homelessness crisis an Emergency on February 9, "our Santa Monica City Council, City Manager, and City Attorney have done nothing...taken no action, except to prepare a Request for Proposals for outside vendors to submit ideas a year from now by May 2024."
The video itself says the city's "lack of urgency during the worst storms in decades is difficult to understand." According to the Santa Monica Coalition, the city owns properties that can be turned into temporary shelters "quickly and inexpensively."
While acknowledging that the problems suffered by the homeless may be complex, the Santa Monica's Coalition believes that creating a place for safe sleeping and parking is "a prime place to start taking effective steps."
The city-owned sites proposed for use for homeless safe sleeping are:
- The former Fisher Lumber site at 14th and Colorado, described as "currently an under-utilized city storage site."
- City parking lot at Arizona and 5th Street. This could be used after 7 pm when the lot closes for safe parking overnight until the lot opens again at 7 am.
- Civic Auditorium grounds and parking area, which are located next to the civic center and its services.
- City Hall, as San Francisco has done. "It would be a powerful statement of inclusivity showing the City of Santa Monica walks the progressive walk."
The Santa Coalition acknowledges that none of the proposed sites are perfect, and it's not a "total solution," but that the city has to start somewhere in dealing with this overwhelming problem. "Too often Santa Monica has made the perfect the enemy of the good," the video cautions.