The temperature will be in the 40s all night and is projected to be 41 degrees at 7 a.m. this morning in Santa Monica. It is very cold and we’ve had plenty of rain.

In Los Angeles County more than 32,000 people have no shelter and must sleep outside on the ground. With only 19,713 shelter beds and over 51,000 homeless people, two out of three homeless have nowhere but the sidewalk for a bed, a toilet and a storage locker.

For the last 10 years the only model that nonprofit and government homeless agencies have been using is the “housing-first” model. The public was told that access to services only enabled the homeless to be homeless and that the only way to end homelessness was to cut homeless services like shelters. Their model was to take a chronically-homeless person straight from the street to a permanent apartment. However, this model was deployed back before the real estate boom and bust cycle that we have experienced.

After 10 years, housing first has left two out of three homeless people without even a shelter bed. You see those access services were purposefully neglected on “behalf” of the homeless. Society has made it very hard for the poor on the street, especially now since housing redevelopment funds are gone.

In hindsight, government bureaucrats and their counterpart nonprofit agencies who would gain permanent housing real estate on their books were terribly wrong. Housing-first never happened, but Bush’s economic disaster did. Ten years down the line thousands of society’s most vulnerable in our population with serious mental illness, physical disabilities and people who have no economic support are stranded on the sidewalk.

So tonight it is going to freeze in some areas in the county and thanks to a dogged and entrenched housing-first homeless bureaucracy thousands of stranded people will face seriously dangerous weather conditions this winter.


Randy Walburger

Santa Monica

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