Santa Monica city council members have voted unanimously to declare homelessness a local emergency, seeking more government resources to address the issue.
The vote, which took place during Tuesday night’s council meeting, joins Santa Monica with other local cities including Los Angeles, Culver City and Long Beach, along with the County of Los Angeles, in issuing an emergency declaration.
Santa Monica estimates 807 people are experiencing homelessness in the city, out of a population of 91,000.
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) estimates the county’s homeless population at 69,000 people.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
City leaders say the declaration paves the way for several measures. Among them, additional funding from the county, state, and federal government, removing barriers to building affordable housing, and streamlining the process of hiring “staff positions that are critical to preventing and ending homelessness.”
“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.