The City of Culver City has proclaimed a local homelessness emergency on January 3, 2023. A proclamation of a local emergency was issued by City Manager John Nachbar in his capacity as the City’s director of emergency services. It will allow Culver City to operate beyond its normal operational policies and procedures to better address the homelessness crisis, align the City with other regional jurisdictions, and open the door to potential new funding opportunities to address the crisis.
“Culver City is taking this action as a further step to address the ongoing homelessness crisis. Even after years of effort by the City to resolve the problem, unhoused persons are still suffering daily on streets and sidewalks throughout our community. We need to do everything possible to end this crisis,” said Culver City Mayor Albert Vera.
The proclamation follows Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’ declaration of a local emergency on homelessness on December 12, 2022. Culver City is entirely surrounded by the City of Los Angeles. The most recent count of people experiencing homelessness in the community identified approximately 350 unhoused residents.
In recent years, Culver City has made unprecedented investments into homelessness solutions, including an annual commitment of $3.2 million from the City General Fund for a new Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit consisting of professionals to address the homelessness and mental health crisis; $275,000 from the City’s General Fund to explore a Safe Parking or Safe Camping Program; $845,000 from a combination of Measure H funding, the City General Fund and the City’s Low and Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund for an expanded Culver City homeless street outreach team; $260,000 from the City’s General Fund and the Westside Council of Governments Innovation Grant funds for an internal motel voucher program for temporary housing.
To address the need for local shelter space and supportive housing, the City applied for and was awarded $26.6 million from the State of California, Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) under Project Homekey for the creation of harm reduction, service enriched interim and permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals through the conversion of two local motels. Further, under the leadership of the City Council, the City made a one-time commitment of $7.3 million from Culver City Housing Authority funds for Project Homekey construction and an ongoing annual commitment of approximately $5 million from the City General Fund for Project Homekey staffing, operations and services. The Project Homekey Interim and Permanent Supportive Housing project will be the first in the City and will provide housing for approximately 20% of the homeless population.
The homelessness crisis has put a strain on the City’s public safety resources. Paramedic and fire calls to address the crisis on City streets and in our other public spaces have increased at alarming rates, such that in 2022 there were nearly 1,200 calls to the Culver City Fire Department (CCFD) involving unhoused persons, including 680 calls for emergency medical services. This is an increase of 13% from 2021 and a 47% increase from 2020. There were also 106 calls to CCFD regarding fires, which is an increase of 38% from 2021.
The City Council will consider ratifying the proclamation of local emergency at its meeting on January 9, 2023.