Friday, February 13, 2009

The People's Republic of Santa Monica

One would think if you were going to subsidize social services for the homeless and mentally-ill woman you would look to minimize costs not related to the service to maximize outreach. This basic logic apparently does not exist with the public policy makers in the city of Santa Monica.

In 1973 the city purchased a mixed-use building a block away from the Santa Monica pier with ocean views. Since then the building has been used by nonprofits to provide services to the homeless and mentally-ill woman. One would think if the city sold this property they could use the proceeds to find a building that is not in a prime commercial real estate area to increase the center's size and scope of reach. Not in Santa Monica however:
More than 35 years after purchasing a mixed-use building on scenic Ocean Avenue, City Hall is preparing to lease the property for affordable housing.

The City Council is expected tonight to authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a lease with OPCC and allocate $100,000 to the nonprofit homeless service provider for architectural, legal and consulting purposes...

City Hall purchased the 19-unit property at 1614-1616 Ocean Ave. in 1973, leasing the rent-controlled spaces to residents and OPCC's Daybreak Day Center, which offers social service programs to homeless and mentally-ill women. About seven units are currently vacant to make way for future building rehabilitation.
Taking the merits of the program aside, is it really in the best interests of taxpayers to be subsidizing ocean front views for the homeless?

Is Santa Monica the only city in the state not to face a budget crisis?

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