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Manhattan Beach Homeless Numbers Decrease; 'Success Story' Shared

Jul 31, 2020 05:58PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Photo via LAHSA

Manhattan Beach experienced a slight decrease in its homeless count between 2019 and 2020, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority.

Additionally, the city is expected to hear a recent success story regarding a local homeless individual at its August 4 City Council meeting.

The total count for Manhattan Beach homeless individuals was 15 in 2020, down from 22 in 2019, and down even further from 41 in 2018, according to LAHSA records.

Yet overall, the total count for this largely transient population remained steady throughout the adjoining beach cities. For Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach combined, the total was 219 in 2020, compared to 220 in 2019, and 218 in 2018.

Across L.A. County, there are 66,436 homeless individuals, reflecting a 12.9 percent rise between 2019 and 2020.

Interestingly, in Manhattan Beach the homeless count for one portion of the downtown area was zero in 2020, compared to 8 in 2019. (That portion, which encompasses Live Oak Park, is bounded by Valley Drive and the Strand to the East and West, and Manhattan Beach Blvd. and 20th Street to the North and South.)

However, George Gabriel, senior management analyst for the City of Manhattan Beach and the city's homelessness liaison, cautioned against reading too much into individual numbers, especially in any one specific section of town. 

"It's important to know that the homeless count is a point-in-time count," said Gabriel. "The count is reflective of what was observed on one night in January this year after 8:00 p.m. A group of volunteers went out in the community to count the number of homeless individuals in the jurisdiction of Manhattan Beach including downtown. No homeless individuals were witnessed [in that segment of town] that night. "

LAHSA's annual homeless count allows stakeholders to receive official statistics of what homelessness looks like in each community, and helps local governments adjust services accordingly. Every year, on one night in January, volunteers go out in teams to count the number of homeless individuals in each section of town.

A 'Success Story' In Manhattan Beach

With the release of these numbers, the Manhattan Beach City Council is preparing to receive an update on homeless initiatives at its August 4 meeting, including a report on beach cities homeless outreach outcomes from November 2019 to June 2020.

One "success story" noted in the report is of an individual who has lived in Manhattan Beach for their entire life and has been homeless for forty years. (The family has requested that the individual not be named.) The case manager had been consistent in outreach even though this individual had always politely declined services. Recently, the individual's severe physical disabilities resulted in needing to go to the hospital. As the individual was about to be discharged, the case manager discussed an available recuperative care motel site and the individual agreed to go.

According to the report, this individual has been safely sleeping in the motel with consistently available social services, and the case manager has been working on connecting this individual to benefits and the documents necessary to move into permanent housing. The ultimate goal would be for placement in a facility with the necessary supportive help.

The case manager thanked the hospital liaisons, the Manhattan Beach Police Department, George Gabriel of the city of Manhattan Beach, and the individual's family for their assistance in successfully helping this individual.

Funding to Assist the Homeless

Manhattan Beach's outreach efforts to the homeless are part of a three-city collaboration among the beach cities. The cities receive funding for those efforts through Measure H, a ¼ percent increase to the L.A. County sales tax approved by county voters in March 2017.

In April 2019, the three beach cities received $330,665 from Measure H grant funding for homeless coordination, training and housing navigation services. Through the grant funding, the beach cities awarded a contract to Harbor Interfaith Services to provide three full-time equivalent positions to assist homeless individuals and families in those cities.

At the county-wide level, the Measure H revenue stream – an estimated total of $355 million per year for ten years - aims to fund a comprehensive regional approach to homelessness, including services, rental subsidies and housing. 

According to LAHSA, three years into the 10-year term of Measure H, L.A. County’s homeless services system has doubled the number of annual housing placements. Improvements in coordination across agencies through the LAHSA-based Housing Central Command have increased the speed of placements.

Additionally, efforts to protect the most vulnerable people from COVID-19 led to the rapid sheltering of 6,010 people across L.A. County since the March Safer at Home order (4,056 through Project Roomkey, 1,708 in Parks and Rec shelters, and 246 in trailers) - along with a goal to move 15,000 of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness into housing.

For more information about programs and policies on homelessness in Manhattan Beach, visit the city's homelessness resource page.

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