City departments are working together by using a proactive and compassionate engagement model. Enter Alisa Orduña, the City of Santa Monica's new Senior Advisor on Homelessness. Orduña was the Director of Homelessness Policy for the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a post she held since 2015. A Southern California native, she has been on the front lines of homelessness and social services for nearly two decades in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
In addition to hiring Orduña, the City is currently underway rolling out the following programs:
10-12 new outreach workers through contracts with LA County and local nonprofits. More service professionals will engage directly with the homeless in our parks, beaches and public spaces.
- Every officer will be trained, informed and engaged on homeless issues and work in coordination with service providers and other City departments.
- New officers on the Homeless Liaison Program team and expanded partnerships with West Coast Care and the Department of Mental Health.
- Prioritize federal housing vouchers for households at risk of homelessness and for persons who became homeless, with the highest priority for seniors and persons living with disabilities.
- Expand the continuum of housing by creating a new path for persons who were formerly homeless and are now living in permanent supportive housing, to “graduate” to less service-enriched housing.
- Initiate pilot program to prevent homelessness by providing a basic needs subsidy to seniors who are extremely low-income and paying more than one-half of their income toward rent.
- Pop-up resources fairs; the first two have assisted more than 50 people.
- Continued funding for one outreach specialist at all locations.
- Two new library services officers to help create a welcoming and positive environment for all visitors.
- Dedicated library social worker for those who do not receive or are ineligible for services.
- Exploring deployment models that more efficiently address low acuity homelessness responses that impact local emergency rooms.
- Exploring adding a social worker at high impact stations to provide service at the point of interaction.
- New software program that uses data to predict needs by area and time of day, while maintaining response times.