Why the homeless program in Rampart Village costs over $2,600 per person each month

A pilot program for the homeless called the Safe Sleep Village opened this spring in Rampart Village.

Sophie Flay Image
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Why the homeless program in Rampart Village costs $2,600 per person
A pilot program for the homeless called the Safe Sleep Village opened this spring in Rampart Village.

RAMPART VILLAGE (KABC) -- Where is city funding for the growing homelessness crisis going?

About $1.5 million dollars was designated this year to an eight-month pilot program called the Safe Sleep Village in Rampart Village.

It's an empty parking lot that has spots for 70 tents.

When you break it down, that $1.5 million dollars seems like a lot for a parking lot.

The costs total to more than $2,600 per person each month.

But it's not just the tent that's being paid for, it's the services.

Wanda Williams, site director of the Safe Sleep Village, said that people living there are connected to caseworkers, housing opportunities, mental health providers, medical services and have access to WiFi.

"We make sure that they're fed three meals a day, make sure that you're getting showers, have opportunities, use the restrooms," said Williams.

The site is managed by Urban Alchemy, a nonprofit homeless services provider.

"This is a wonderful facility, I've never seen nothing like this," said Brince, who is living at the site and is experiencing homelessness.

When asked about the cost of this program, City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell gave this statement:

"I am proud to be piloting the first City-managed Safe Sleep Village, one of the many comprehensive housing solutions I've successfully brought online in the 13th District. Safe Sleep Village is an investment in people, and represents a partnership between my office, the private property owner, and the dedicated team at Urban Alchemy. Many of Urban Alchemy's practitioners have lived experience with homelessness or incarceration. Safe Sleep Village provides people experiencing homelessness with a safe, secure environment, managed by caring professionals, and is a humane and thoughtful way to connect unhoused individuals to resources and, ultimately, permanent housing. Currently, the Safe Sleep Village is at full capacity - which clearly reflects that this is a service that is needed, and a program that works. I am also looking forward to the future permanent supporting housing project that will be built on this site, which will bring up to 454 units of housing to those who need it the most."

Once this pilot program is over, the city will break ground to build about 400 units of permanent supportive housing on the lot.