Encounters with law enforcement and emergency medical services decreased significantly since launching the program.
Arrests of people experiencing homelessness have decreased dramatically since launching the program.
Touch points with case managers increased significantly since launching the program.
Despite significant funding allocations, homelessness in Southern California continues to grow. The sum total of a housing shortage, an opioid epidemic, a global health pandemic, and an ongoing mental health crisis demands more than a one-size-fits-all solution. In 2020, an emerging emphasis on social injustice highlighted yet another massive component of the problem: a crucial need for reflection on the role that law enforcement should play in emergency situations.
Akido worked in partnership with the City of Santa Monica to deploy a modern emergency response system atop the Akido Platform, designed to utilize case managers and social workers when responding to urgent calls involving citizens experiencing homelessness. Rather than resort to incarceration or the funnelling of homeless patients into emergency rooms, those most familiar with the homeless client’s unique situation are now integrated into the response process, alongside law enforcement and paramedics, to facilitate a more appropriate and mutually beneficial outcome.
“After receiving a notification that a client had been placed in jail, one of our case managers went to visit, and the response from their client was very emotional - he started to cry. That’s because his family had stopped coming years prior, and this case manager had essentially become his family.” - Brian Hargraves, City of Santa Monica
Since the program’s launch, arrests of our neighbors experiencing homelessness have decreased by 37% in the city of Santa Monica. Additionally, we’ve seen a reduction in police encounters and EMS runs to the most frequent users of their services by 33%. This program continues to highlight the potential humanitarian and economic impact that is unlocked when case managers and social workers are invited to play a more active role in emergency response scenarios.
It’s an honor to be involved in this effort to channel abundant municipal resources into their most effective and coordinated uses. We look forward to continuing to empower the people on the front line of the homelessness crisis to sustainably improve the well-being of our communities.