An initially free analysis of the City’s efforts to reduce homelessness will now cost $77,675 over the next two years due to a previously unknown federal restriction.

The RAND Corporation offered to conduct a free assessment of the city’s Homeless Multidisciplinary Street Team (SMST) and Council authorized the partnership in August of 2017. However, RAND later learned that restrictions on the federal money used to fund the appropriate department prevent RAND from doing the work for free. The fee will now be $77,675.

According to a report posted online last week, the new cost is within the scope of approval for the city’s Community and Cultural Services department and does not require additional Council approval. The Department has the budget to pay for the study and does not need new funding.

Santa Monica’s street team model targets homeless individuals who are known to use a disproportionate amount of city services such as contacts with the police department, firefighters or emergency rooms.

“The HMST serves the highest utilizers of local emergency service resources by meeting their complex needs with street-based interventions delivered by a skilled team of interdisciplinary professionals,” said the report.

The team is currently funded with a mix of one-time funds from the City and discretionary funds from LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office. Since its launch in 2016, the team has targeted 26 individuals and found housing for 20. The team is staffed by The People Concern (formerly OPCC) and includes a licensed clinical program director, psychiatrist, physician assistant, clinical case manager, substance abuse clinician, housing case manager, and peer support specialist.

Services, such as medical and behavioral health interventions, are provided in locations such as jails, hospitals, courtrooms, or libraries.

“The project scope includes evaluating the cost-benefits and first responder cost avoidances of providing multidisciplinary intensive clinical services on the street to historic high utilizers of local emergency services (police, fire, hospitals); assessing client outcomes like housing stability and improvements in health; and recommending outreach strategies and configurations of additional teams,” said the report.

Additional resources are already approved for similar projects such as a new C3 team working in the field however long-term strategies will be based on the RAND assessment, additional data and reports from the existing teams.

editor@smdp.com

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