The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will debate extending funding for homeless outreach in Santa Monica this week after Supervisor Shelia Kuehl recommended budgeting $300,000 towards the City’s Homeless Multidisciplinary Street Team (HMST) Program.
The county previously put $300,000 toward the program for the 2018 calendar year and the request would extend support for a second year to a total county contribution of $600,000.
The street team focuses on the most problematic homeless residents as defined by their extremely high use of emergency resources. The program has an updated list of the 25 people most in need of their help.
“HMST clients are the City’s most vulnerable chronically homeless residents and their average age is 49.6 years old, collectively they have a cumulative total of 304 years of homelessness, with one individual reporting 28 years of chronic homelessness,” said the supervisor’s request.
The team delivers services to individuals where they are and doesn’t require clients to come to a shelter to receive aid. The goal is to give homeless individuals enough stability in their lives to allow them to take advantage of other service programs and eventually wean them off a reliance on emergency rooms, paramedics or police services.
“The City of Santa Monica has frequently identified this program as integral to their success in reducing the impact of chronic homelessness by delivering street-based medical, substance use disorder, and mental health interventions to those for whom traditional outreach efforts and service delivery systems have been ineffective,” said the request to the Board.
In the last year, the team worked with 31 individuals. They were able to find temporary housing for 25, permanent housing for 13 and nine were referred to the City’s Homeless Community Court.
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. 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.
Santa Monica has establishes several partnerships with regional agencies to tackle aspects of the homeless crisis. In addition to the HMST, the Los Angeles County C3 teams also work in the city. C3 teams have a similar composition and were first deployed in Venice.
The City’s Chronic Homeless Project is a partnership between the Santa Monica Housing Authority, Santa Monica Police Department, SM Fire, Community and Cultural Services Department, City-funded homeless providers, and the County to provide housing and services for the most vulnerable homeless individuals.