City Offers Its Take on Homeless Count Results: Slight Decline in Number of People Sleeping on the Street


The following is a submission from the City of Santa Monica.

The west side of Los Angeles County, which includes Santa Monica, saw a nearly 20 percent decrease in the total population of people experiencing homelessness, according to numbers released Friday by the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority, or LAHSA.

LAHSA’s annual Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found that the number of people experiencing homelessness in Service Planning Area 5 — Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Culver City, Ladera, Malibu, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Palms, Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, Venice, West LA, Westchester, and Westwood — was 5,383 in 2024, down from 6,669 in 2023.

In Santa Monica, the count showed 774 people experiencing homelessness, a 6 percent decrease from the 826 reported by LAHSA in 2023.

The data provided at the city level reflects the actual number of people, along with what LAHSA calls “improvised dwellings” (cars, RVs, tents, etc.), counted by volunteers on the night of the count in January. The number also includes data collected by special LAHSA outreach teams that canvass hard-to-reach or dangerous areas, such as Caltrans embankments in the city.

The count allots one person in each improvised dwelling counted.

LAHSA breaks down Santa Monica’s count as follows:

People physically counted outdoors (including at city beaches)479
People recorded in shelters (including at the city’s shelter, SAMOSHEL)173
Cars, vans and RVs counted61
Tents counted21
Other makeshift shelters counted40

“Homelessness is a complex local, regional, state and national issue that affects our city on a daily basis,” Santa Monica Housing and Human Services Director Heather Averick said. “The reduction in people recorded in the county’s 2024 point in time count is promising and reflects the impacts of our strategic efforts to address homelessness. At the same time, we know our work is not done and we acknowledge the real impacts of homelessness being felt across our community. We continue to work across all city departments and with our external partners to prioritize permanent solutions to this crisis.”

Regional Context for a Regional Solution

This marks the first year that Santa Monica’s count has been managed by LAHSA. The city transitioned from a city-run count last year as part of a strategic push to leverage regional resources to assist the city in addressing homelessness.

In past years, the numbers recorded in Santa Monica’s local count have sometimes differed from the numbers released by LAHSA. Results from the 2023 city-organized count showed 926 people experiencing homelessness in Santa Monica — 786 individuals and 140 improvised dwellings.

LAHSA uses the same methodology across the region, in consultation with statistical experts from the University of Southern California and with guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. With LAHSA conducting the annual point in time count, the city will have a like-to-like comparison of the numbers, giving a more complete picture of the totality of homelessness in Santa Monica, the westside region and the county as a whole.

Overall, the county’s count remained relatively stable, with a significant increase in the amount of people in shelters and a decrease in those living outdoors.

“This year’s Homeless Count shows that we are finally moving in the right direction. Our coordinated emergency response to end our homelessness crisis is beginning to show improvement,” said Lindsey Horvath, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the LAHSA Commission. “These results are validation, not victory. We must continue to move with urgency across all levels of government and in every community in Los Angeles County to bring our unhoused neighbors inside.”

Government agencies, including LAHSA, use the data collected during the Homeless Count to develop strategies to address homelessness and determine where funding and resources will have the most impact.

For Santa Monica, the numbers are one way the city gauges the impacts of local programs to address homelessness and advocates for resources on a regional level.

Santa Monica’s Efforts

The city continues to push forward and expand its strategic, robust and innovative portfolio of programs and initiatives to address and prevent homelessness. This includes:

  • Working with Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative’s Pathway Home program to transition 25 homeless Santa Monicans from the downtown area into interim housing.
  • Increasing the amount of permanent supportive housing in Santa Monica. City housing vouchers have been provided to those living at The Laurel, which opened this year and provides homes for 57 formerly homeless Santa Monicans, along with on-site wrap-around supportive services, including case management.
  • Maintaining a portfolio of 5,000 affordable residences and 184 permanent supportive housing residences.
  • Providing housing vouchers to vulnerable Santa Monica individuals, families, and seniors to prevent them from falling into homelessness.
  • Increasing intake hours for Santa Monica first responders to refer people to the city’s shelter, SAMOSHEL, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
  • Funding nine homeless outreach teams that cover the entire city, offering multidisciplinary services to help people on a pathway out of homelessness.
  • Extending the City Council’s local emergency on homelessness through May 31, 2025, to ensure the city can continue its momentum to be flexible and nimble in how we address homelessness.
  • Providing resources to ensure vulnerable seniors remain housed by offering cash-based assistance via our Preserving our Diversity (POD) program.
  • Partnering with Los Angeles County to launch the Therapeutic Van Transport Team, which works alongside first responders to provide support for people experiencing behavioral health crises. To date, the team has made 81 contacts and arranged transport for 41 people to receive greater care.
  • Launching a behavioral health feasibility study and leading the regional effort to bring a crisis center to the westside.
  • Launching the Shelter, Treatment and Empowerment Program, known as STEP Court, allowing qualifying individuals to work with the city and county court to clear misdemeanor records by obtaining housing assistance and mental health and/or substance use treatment. Since STEP Court’s inception in January, four people have successfully graduated and 22 have enrolled in the program.
  • Developing a citywide Homelessness Strategic Plan, a roadmap building on the current and past work of the city to guide future efforts, which will be presented to the City Council in 2025.

For more information about Santa Monica’s efforts on addressing homelessness, click here. For more information on the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, visit

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