As part of Downtown Santa Monica Inc. (DTSM)’s ongoing efforts to help address homelessness, the organization will hold its first ever DTSM Connect Day on June 15.
The event is intended to bring together local service providers in one location to share resources with people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless and will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at St. Monica’s Catholic Church.
“It’s kind of like a homeless resource fair for those who are looking for services,” said DTSM Outreach Coordinator Donovan Wilkes. “Basically what we’re trying to do is create an event that has a lot of different resources, a plethora of services, in one area so it becomes a one stop shop for folks who are looking to be connected to services.”
Wilkes said he has been involved in organizing similar events in other parts of Los Angeles and that it is a great way to spread the word about available resources and get people connected to services.
“While Santa Monica does have a good amount of resources inside the area, not everyone is always aware of the resources in the area so by creating a one stop shop, people who may be going there to seek, for example, hygiene, may or may not know about the People Concern and all that they do, or they may not know about Venice Family Clinic.”
In addition to the People Concern and the Venice Family Clinic other organizations that will have a presence at the event include the Department of Public Health, Safe Place for Youth (SPY), Veterans Affairs and West Coast Cares, among others. Wilkes said DTSM is still looking for other organizations who may be interested in joining.
Wilkes said that the City of Santa Monica’s recent declaration of a state of emergency over homelessness and the results of the 2023 homeless count – which indicate that the number of people living on the streets or in makeshift shelters has increased by nearly 15% from the previous year to a total of 926 individuals – make the need to spread awareness of services and resources clear.
With homelessness a top concern of many in Santa Monica, he said this is an opportunity for people to educate themselves on the efforts to address the crisis and learn about ways to become part of the solution.
“By creating this event, it brings awareness and education to both the housed and the unhoused community and folks who are observing the trend and trying to figure out what they can do,” Wilkes said. “It takes a community in order to combat homelessness, and really having people walk away with that knowledge of seeing the collaborative efforts happening here and understanding that it does take everybody – unhoused and housed – in order to combat homelessness.”
He said DTSM is looking for volunteers to help staff the event and that individuals who are interested in volunteering, or organizations interested in participating, should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.