With its lovely weather and pleasant community members, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Pacific Palisades has become an increasingly popular destination among the area’s homeless. Rather than shame the homeless population and chase them away, however, residents of the upscale community have decided to take a much different approach: to find a way to help those without a house who choose to call the community their home.
Raising Money to Help a Cause
In response to the homeless problem within the neighborhood, residents of Pacific Palisades held a fundraiser earlier this year, resulting in the raising of $500,000 through private funders. The goal of the fundraiser was to acquire the money necessary to bring mental health services and other similar services to the area. The funds were also raised in an effort to create interim and permanent housing to provide assistance to the approximately 180 homeless people living in the community. According to residents, the approach makes more sense than bouncing homeless people between jail, the hospital and the streets.
The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness
Residents of the Pacific Palisades take the issue of homelessness in their community so seriously that they have even formed an organization known as the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. After conducting months of study, the group determined that they could not rely on law enforcement to handle the issue. Rather, they needed to focus on bringing in a full-service provider.
In an effort to more effectively address the issue, the group has contracted with the Ocean Park Community Center located in Santa Monica. The goal is to have the community center’s outreach workers work toward assisting the homeless population with locating mental health services, substance abuse treatment and acute care. Ultimately, the organization wants to develop housing for the homeless population, with approximately $100,000 already donated from residents and local groups.
While Pacific Palisades residents appear to be on board with helping to address the homeless issue, housing for the homeless is not likely to be located in the community. This is because real estate values within the community continue to rise, making it very difficult to raise the funds necessary to build in the community. Furthermore, not every resident is on board with funding the program through private donations, as many continue to push for the authorities to take action. Many are also concerned that homeless individuals living in the area will not willfully go indoors, as many are very attached to the beach and the lifestyle they are currently living.
For those who live in the Pacific Palisades, it is easy to understand why it would be so difficult to turn away from the community. With the help of community outreach programs combined with concerned citizens, however, many of the homeless individuals living in the community may get the help they need for a fresh start in life.
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