We can offer them more than just a roof: with the saved funds, we can provide furniture, clothing, utility allowances, and even job training and placement services.
Dear Mayor Davis and Members of the Santa Monica City Council,
I am writing to express my deep concerns over the proposed plan to address our homelessness issue by constructing multi-million-dollar accommodations in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. Not only is this approach economically imprudent, it would likely be ineffective in achieving our overarching goal: providing safe and stable housing for every homeless person in our city. I would like to present an alternative solution for your consideration, one that is not only more cost-effective but has a potential for immediate impact.
As per a recent article published today in the Los Angeles Times https://www.latimes.com/homeless-housing/story/2023-08-14/homelessness-los-angeles-vs-detroit despite Detroit's economic challenges including having the highest poverty in the nation, it has a significantly lower homelessness rate. The primary reason is the vast availability of affordable housing. Numerous homes can be outright purchased for just a few thousand dollars. Instead of spending potentially $1 billion or more to house our approximately 1,000 homeless (1000 X $1 million/homeless) in Santa Monica by building new ocean-adjacent condos on the most expensive land on earth, imagine if we used a fraction of that sum to provide permanent fully-OWNED housing for our homeless in Detroit, offering them the dignity of homeownership, immediate housing security, and a fresh start.
While I anticipate some may view this proposal as lacking compassion, I argue that it is the exact opposite. Is it truly compassionate to let our homeless spend countless years on the streets, waiting for an elusive home in Santa Monica, when immediate housing is available elsewhere? While so many die or become ill? We can offer them more than just a roof: with the saved funds, we can provide furniture, clothing, utility allowances, and even job training and placement services. This not only gives them a home but also the tools for a brighter future.
However, it's not just about the homeless. With this approach, Santa Monica would see an improvement in public safety, cleanliness, and the overall quality of life. Moreover, our public safety expenses, a significant portion of which currently goes towards addressing homelessness-related issues, would substantially decrease. In the long run, this will bolster our local businesses and increase our tax revenues.
I cannot help but mention that the primary beneficiaries of the current proposal seem to be the wealthy developers, many of whom have significant financial ties to electoral campaigns. Our duty should first and foremost be towards our citizens and those under our care, not special interest groups.
In conclusion, I urge the Santa Monica City Council to take this proposal seriously. We have a rare opportunity to enact a win-win solution – for our homeless population, our residents, and our city's economic health. Let us take a moment to reflect on our priorities, values, and the most effective means to genuinely make a difference in the lives of the homeless.
Thank you for your attention, and I await your response.