Homelessness has become a critical issue in America, the greater LA area and certainly in Santa Monica. I believe that it will be a combined effort of all stake holders working together to resolve this growing problem in America. But I do believe that with innovation and compassion we can make tremendous progress. First of all we do a great disservice to the homeless community by lumping them all in the same category, “Homeless”. The homeless community is just as diverse as any demographic of people.
I believe in a triage approach. First, let’s help the men and women who only need financial help, people that are recently homeless, living in vehicles, and possibly still employed.
Second I would help the people who can be easily integrated back into society and the workforce, many of these people just need a place to shower, clean clothes, access to a computer, and a place to receive mail. They may also be in need of some coaching or services that can give them some guidance and direction.
Thirdly, and this becomes more difficult and costly, we need to help the people with addiction and substance abuse issues. We need to help those with mental and health issues as well. We need to get them the proper care and medication they desperately need.