Santa Monica Lookout Opinion
Homeless Strategy More of the Same Old
April 4, 2022
Santa Monica recently reiterated its well-worn strategy to address homelessness, which looks like more of the same old, same old.
Doubling down on ineffective ideas will not make them effective. The City’s “Strategy Pillar #3” particularly reeks of failure:
“Maintain equitable access to safe, fun, and healthy open spaces . . . ensure that our public spaces continue to be safe, clean, and enjoyable for all.”
Which continuing “safe,” “fun,” “clean,” “healthy” “enjoyable” public spaces are those? Chess Park? Reed Park? Tongva Park? Third Street Promenade? Downtown parking structures? Our streets, sidewalks, and alleyways?
Consider: Some chronically homeless individuals are out of reach. The City of Malibu recently estimated approximately 8 in 10 local homeless individuals would choose to remain on the streets regardless of shelter availability, and also concluded that benefit expansion attracts more of them.
Stop the inflow here by revamping Santa Monica programs to focus on people who were made homeless by economic hardship while living or working in Santa Monica. The city cannot meet the chronic needs of a region-wide or statewide population.
Recognize that City policies not only cause inflow, but also spawn crime ("Homeless Man Charged with Burglary," March 29, 2022).
Over roughly the past week three homeless individuals were arrested on multiple serious felony charges, including carjacking, commercial burglary, residential burglary, and robbery.
SMPD has arrested homeless lawbreakers from throughout the region, state, and nation in Santa Monica, some of them repeatedly.
Real and substantial change is long past due, including unseating those people and organizations that have hawked more-of-the-same for decades.
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