Living La Vida Local
Nationwide, poverty increased more in suburban areas than in central-cities from 1999 to 2005 according to the report, a result of a downturn in manufacturing and telecommunication sectors during the period. The strength of construction and the professional and business service sectors was credited for the decrease in poverty in Southern California. High living costs in areas such as the Bay Area and Southern California may have contributed to an out-migration of low income families from these areas during the period, according to the report.

From 1999 to 2005, poverty declined in three of the four Southern California MSAs (Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana [LA and Orange counties], Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario [Riverside and San Bernardino counties], and San Diego) from 1999 to 2005. Within the region, the Los Angeles and Orange Counties MSA had the largest decrease in central-city poverty from 22.0 percent to 19.8 percent (-2.2 percentage points). The Inland Empire MSA had both the largest decrease in overall MSA poverty from 15.0 to 13.2 percent (-1.8 percentage points) and suburban poverty from 14.1 percent to 12.1 percent (-2.0 percentage points). (Eduardo J. Martinez)



Central City








Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana







Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura







Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario







San Diego







(*) denotes measurements of poverty declines within the margin of error representing statistically insignificant decreases
Source: Brookings Institute



Decades ago in the peace on earth era when Tom Hayden was mayor of Santa Monica, the City began feeding homeless people. As time passed, the city became renowned as the “Home of the Homeless.” For the first time since its inception in the 1980’s, Santa Monica’s homeless delivery system has undergone an extensive evaluation. Following find excerpts from a report presented to the Santa Monica City Council earlier in the year.

One-Year Estimates – July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006


  • Household type – 91% are single; 7% are couples, 2% are families with children.

  • Gender – 60% are male. This is quite a low percentage, given that most of these are single adult households. Nationally the proportion male among single adults is about 80%.

  • Race – 53% are white; 36% are African-American; 11% are other races or mixed-race.

  • Hispanic – 14% are Hispanic, of any race.

  • Age – Homeless people in Santa Monica are somewhat older than one might expect from national data – 56% are between 35 and 54 years old, with another 15% aged 55 and older. Median age is thus around 42, compared to the mid-30s nationally.

  • Veterans – 10%. This is quite low compared to national statistics, which show that about 23 percent of all homeless adults and 26 percent of homeless men are veterans. It may be that agencies do not consistently check and record veteran status.


  • Mental illness and substance abuse –The percent of homeless in Santa Monica affected by mental illness and substance abuse is significantly higher than the national average.

    • 80% with substance abuse issues; 56% substance abuse only,
    • 38% with mental illness; 14% mental illness only,
    • 24% both substance abuse and mental illness,
    • Only 6% without either substance abuse or mental illness.

  • Other disabilities – less than 10% are reported to have another disabling condition, including physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, or HIV/AIDS.

  • Chronic homelessness – 33% are chronically homeless, meaning they have a disability and have been homeless for a year or more, or 4 or more times in the last 3 years. These statistics are high compared to the findings of about 10% to 15% chronically homeless in other cities that are able to produce one-year estimates.


  • Length of time in contact with homeless assistance agencies – 40% have been connected to Santa Monica agencies for 6 months or less, while 23% have been connected for 3 or more years. Long-term stayers are mostly in permanent supportive housing programs, while those in the system for the shortest time periods tend to be in programs such as outreach and access centers that are a person’s first point of contact.

  • Came to Santa Monica already homeless – ClientTrack is unable at this time to provide a reliable answer to where people became homeless and whether that happened before they came to Santa Monica. Findings from focus groups with homeless people suggest that most became homeless elsewhere and came to the city for a variety of reasons.


Even with this evaluation, we don’t have a definitive answer to this question. There are two commonly accepted ways to think about how many people are homeless. The first is to consider how many are homeless on a single day. The other is to consider how many people experience homelessness over the course of a year. The latter number is always the larger, as some people who start the year homeless move into housing, and other people who start the year housed lose their housing and become homeless. National data suggest that about four or five times as many people are homeless over the course of a year as are homeless on any one day.


The first one-day estimate of homeless people in Santa Monica comes from the Los Angeles County survey that the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority commissioned in 2005, which took place on January 25-27, 2005. That number is about 2,000, which includes people found at all emergency shelter and transitional housing programs located in Santa Monica (e.g., SAMOSHEL, Turning Point, Daybreak Shelter, Upward Bound House, and others), plus people observed on the streets and those projected to be “hidden homeless.”


  • Total one-year estimate – 10,800.

  • From ClientTrack – 5,600, including single adults and all persons in multi-person households.

  • From provider reports of unduplicated numbers of people they served during the
    year who were NOT also in ClientTrack, but were in other agency records – 5,200.
These numbers indicate that about three times more people have used Santa Monica’s core homeless assistance programs over the course of a year than are homeless and connected to programs – either as an active case or using brief services – on a given day.


  • For every $1 of the $1.54 million that City Hall invested in service providers in 2005-2006, private agencies such as Step Up on Second raised more than $12 from outside sources.

  • In addition to the $1.54 million invested by the city last year, another $4.5 million was spent on personal costs, including police and paramedic expenses and funding for open space management.


The information we have on people homeless in Santa Monica comes from a variety of sources, the most reliable of which is a database called ClientTrack that all homeless assistance providers who have contracts with the City of Santa Monica use to record information about the people they serve under city grants.


Former Laker O'Neal Starts Real Estate Firm
From Bloomberg News
September 20, 2006

Basketball star Shaquille O'Neal said Tuesday that he had started a real estate company to invest in projects including a $1-billion residential, hotel and retail complex in Miami, where he plays for the Heat.

O'Neal, 34, has purchased about 75 properties valued at more than $50 million, primarily in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas, during his 14-year career with the National Basketball Assn. His new company, O'Neal Group, will be based in Miami.

"I've been in real estate now for 10 to 12 years," O'Neal said in a telephone interview. "This right here furthers my interest and lets people know I'm in the game and in the game for good."

O'Neal follows athletes such as tennis stars Andre Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf, who this month announced plans to invest in a ski resort in Idaho. Earvin "Magic" Johnson, like O'Neal a Los Angeles Lakers veteran, has a company that finances developments in urban areas.

O'Neal, who has a five-year, $100-million contract with the Heat through the 2009-10 season, has been involved in numerous off-court projects, recording five rap albums, launching his own clothing line, starring in three movies and working for police departments in Los Angeles and Miami during the NBA off season.

O'Neal Group's first project will be Metropolitan Miami, also known as the Met, which is being built by Miami-based MDM Development Group. The Met will have 1,100 residential units, including the 866-foot Met 3, the tallest residential tower south of New York, as well as an office tower, a hotel and the area's first Whole Foods Market Inc. store. O'Neal plans to open a 24-Hour Fitness/Shaq Ultra Sport gym at the Met.

"It's refreshing to see these athletes getting involved in real estate beyond the traditional bar and nightclub, where athletes have lost as much money as they've made," said David M. Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC.

O'Neal wouldn't disclose the financial terms of his company's involvement in the Met.

O'Neal Group plans to focus on mixed-use developments that integrate residential units with such amenities as fitness centers and supermarkets.

The Met is likely to get its first residents in mid-2007, and the project will probably be completed by the end of 2009, said Luis Pulenta, principal of MDM Development.