Homelessness remains a hot button issue in the city. Our latest Santa Monica Pulse poll asked residents about the City Council’s latest initiative to address the homelessness crisis. The Council recently directed staff to create a new department and allocate new tax dollars to the issue of solving homelessness. The department is meant to be the “organization point” for the city’s homeless services and programs.
When asked if they believed this new department would help the city reduce homelessness, the majority of respondents (63 percent) said they did not believe the program would reduce homelessness. Only 12 percent said they thought it would reduce homelessness, and another 24 percent were unsure.
Despite the city’s efforts, the County has not relocated a program that hands out clean needles to drug users in public outdoor areas. The County recently suggested moving the program to operate out of vans that would cost the city $150,000 to $180,000 each. We asked residents if they would support or oppose this solution. They vast majority (76 percent) opposed the County’s suggestion. Only 15 percent supported it, and another nine percent were unsure.
The City Council recently voted to move forward with turning the Santa Monica Airport into a park. We asked residents what they would like to see the airport replaced with. 38 percent said they airport should be replaced with a park. About 35 percent said the airport should not be replaced at all. Another four percent said the airport should be replaced with a mixed-use development. Another 21 percent wrote in comments. Of the write-in comments, many suggested pickleball courts go in the airport’s spot. Other suggested housing or some other way to address homelessness. Less than two percent were unsure of what they wanted to replace the airport with.