JORDAN COCKERAM | The solution to homelessness isn’t ‘one size fits all’

Homelessness has been at the forefront of every discussion, debate, forum, article, and concern for the residents of West Hollywood. Times are tough, people are struggling, and almost all of us have gone through some sort of mental breakdown since 2016. Unfortunately, those mental breakdowns have affected some more than others.

We’re seeing more and more people living on the streets, and there isn’t a “One Size Fits All” solution. In order to start to help people, we first must understand why they are homeless – and there isn’t just one reason: mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, escaping abusive relationships, being cast out of your home for being LGBT, and sadly the list goes on.

To make matters worse, it’s not even just a West Hollywood problem. It’s a regional problem. We won’t be able to solve homelessness by ourselves, we have to work with the cities around us, the county, and even the state, to help people get back on their feet, and integrated back into society again.

Every candidate knows that homelessness is an issue, and every candidate says we need to do something to help them, but I’ve yet to see an actual plan from anyone about HOW they’re going to address the issue. That’s why I want to talk to you about my plan to tackle the issue of homelessness when I’m elected to City Council.

The city of Santa Monica has partnered with a company called Akido Labs, who developed a software/application called Project Connect. Project Connect has helped their emergency service providers (police, fire, and medical) streamline and share information with each other, in real time, to identify what they refer to as “high utilizers” of emergency services.

“High utilizers” are people that 911 receives higher volumes of calls about, and those people tend to be homeless. Connect allows our emergency service providers to collect and identify information, down to the specific person suffering from homelessness, and respond with the appropriate course of action.

Imagine 911 receives calls all of the time about someone who is suffering from homelessness, and that person goes through episodes (either mental illness related, or drug/alcohol related) and concerned citizens and neighbors frequently call 911 when it happens. When someone calls 911 and gives a description of the person, that information is collected and stored in a database, so when 911 receive calls in the future that match the High Utilizer’s description, our emergency service professionals know how to respond.

Caller: “Hello, 911? There’s a man near the intersection of Fairfax and Santa Monica Blvd. who is yelling and waving his hands and walking in and out of the street. I’m worried he’s going to get hurt.”

Operator: “What does the man look like”?

Caller: “He appears to be in his 40s, he has long brown hair down to his shoulders.”

Now 911 operators have the information they need to make a decision about how to respond to the call. They can search their database and see if anyone matches the description of a man in his 40s with long brown hair who hangs out around Fairfax and Santa Monica Blvd.

Bingo.

We have a match. They’ve gotten calls about this man before. He suffers from mental illness, and when he doesn’t have medication, he goes through episodes that might put him in a situation that could hurt himself or others. They’ve dealt with him before. He responds very well to a medic and his social worker. Now they know that they don’t need to send out anyone from the Fire Department, they only need to dispatch a medic, his social worker, and maybe an officer if they’re worried that he may become violent.

If they’ve had lots of experiences with him before and they know he’s not violent, they may decide they don’t need to send anyone from the Sheriff’s department. That decision is made by the emergency service providers based on the information they’ve gathered every time they interact with him. This saves time, money, and resources that we can use in other places around West Hollywood.

In the one and a half years that Project Connect has been in Santa Monica, they’ve been able to reduce unnecessary arrests by 37%, and unnecessary interaction with ANY emergency service providers by 33%.

Now what about getting them off of the streets and into proper care facilities?

Gathering information on the specific needs of people suffering from homelessness also helps them quickly locate that person when a spot in a mental health facility, rehab, or transitionary housing unit becomes available. When the city or social worker is notified of an open spot in a mental health facility, they can go through their data and find someone who needs that spot.

“A spot has opened up at ABC Group Home for someone suffering from mental illness. Let’s check our data to see who could benefit from that spot”.

After combing through Project Connect:

“Oh! Our friend who hangs out around Fairfax and Santa Monica Blvd could use that spot! We know the area he frequents, let’s go find him”.

Project Connect allows them to quickly identify someone and get them into the care facility they need. Now, the social worker and anyone else who is needed to bring our friend on Fairfax and Santa Monica into his new home can quickly go find him, help him off of the street, and get past the starting line into a happy, healthier life.

Since being implemented in Santa Monica, Project Connect has transitioned over 120 homeless people into a care facility that is right for them. Because as we know, homelessness doesn’t have a “One Size Fits All” solution.

I want to implement Project Connect (or something similar) into West Hollywood.

This is a plan that I want to bring to West Hollywood when I’m elected to City Council. But I’m not an expert on homelessness. There are people who have been working to solve homelessness for longer than I’ve been alive.

I always welcome feedback, ideas, criticisms, or anything else you want to share with me. Please reach out to me with a call or text to (323) 250-0992, or send me an email at JC@JordanForWeHo.com.

You can also check out my website and see more of my plans at JordanForWeHo.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

5 2 votes
Article Rating
About Jordan Cockeram
Jordan Cockeram is a candidate for West Hollywood City Council.

View All Articles

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

40 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
8 days ago

Homelessness is indeed a problem, across the USA, and own indeed the WORLD. One has to wonder: why is this person homeless? Why can they not get or hold down a job? Do they WANT a job? or are they content living off the grid. Drug and Alcohol abuse seems to be a common denominator. Who in the right mind is willing to live in squalor? There must be a logical solution to the issue. Living on public sidewalks, inhibiting other members of the public is not acceptable.

TomS
TomS
8 days ago

Have you seen the amount of homeless in Santa Monica compared to West Hollywood are you delerious? Can you come up with a better BS ploy to run for office?

Last edited 8 days ago by TomS
Advocate
Advocate
8 days ago

YES!! I am an expert in the delivery of social services for homeless people, going back to 1995. This is the kind of leadership that we need, with specific ideas, and specific programs. That is leadership, unlike the self-aggrandizing buffoons we have now. This guy must be on our city Council as soon as possible!

Last edited 8 days ago by Advocate
Southern gal
Southern gal
11 days ago

Bless his heart.

Edie
Edie
8 days ago
Reply to  Southern gal

lol

Jedd
Jedd
11 days ago

While it is extremely refreshing to see this candidate discussing issues and substance rather than monkeypox vaccination clinics and posts about HIV prep, he still doesn’t have an original thought or plan to solve issues, His ideas have evolved into recycling talking points from other candidates or googling what other cities are doing to solve WeHo problems. Too green. Needs more experience. Needs original ideas. There is more to life in WeHo than electing another LGBTQ activist to office.

Thoughtful Engagement
Thoughtful Engagement
11 days ago

Hi Jordan, thank you for your thoughtful and direct engagement. This is an aspect largely missing within our community.

Femme queen
Femme queen
11 days ago

If this candidate is still involved intimately with Duran, they should declare it. To me, it seems like an ethical obligation.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
11 days ago

While it’s too much to write here I can refer you to research the huge law firm in NYC, Latham and Watkins, who sued the city of Boise, Idaho to change vagrancy laws which resulted in the case Martin vs. Boise being decided at the US Supreme court with all the liberal justices at the time voting in favor of decriminalizing homelessness and requiring cities to provide free housing at huge public expense. Lest you think this was done all for the sake of compassion, THINK AGAIN, because now the federal government was obligated to provide funding for this, but… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Gimmeabreak
Joe Bologna
Joe Bologna
11 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Excellent reply. Thank you.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
11 days ago

So it’s okay to call 911 about a homeless person who is acting out?

I called 911 once when a homeless guy at the bus stop at SM Blvd. and LaCienega was naked, stepping into traffic while stroking his penis and yelling at people, including an elderly woman. The dispatcher who answered told me that was not an emergency and gave me the non-emergency number to call, which I couldn’t remember.

fastlanestranger
fastlanestranger
8 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Sounds like the dispatcher gave you the correct advice. Not their fault you couldn’t remember a phone number or be bothered to simply look it up.

Michael
Michael
8 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

LOL. I called 911 as well on a naked woman screaming at everyone on the corner of 3rd and Robertson and they connected me to the LA Police Dept and the person who answered the call was angry that I called on that number!!!

Nope
Nope
12 days ago

So Mr. Cockeram wants to invest in an expensive fact-finding project and database system instead of utilizing the city’s already existing MET Team and the soon-to-come Behavioral Crisis Response Unit both of which are already quite costly? The City plans to utilize these teams to decrease the amount of arrests and negative interactions between unhoused individuals and the sheriffs. If Mr. Cockeram wants to be on City Council, he needs to learn a little more about the options the City already provides.

Jordan Cockeram
11 days ago
Reply to  Nope

Hi Nope, Akido Labs charges Santa Monica a licensing fee of $25,000/year, which is far less than what it costs to pay for having Police, Fire, and Medical show up to every single call, not to mention the implicit costs incurred by not responding to other emergencies in a timely manner. Since West Hollywood is only 1.9 square miles and has a little more than 1/3 the population of Santa Monica, our cost for Project Connect would be much less. I don’t know if it would be proportionately reduced – meaning I can’t say for sure that it would be… Read more »

Still Nope
Still Nope
9 days ago

You’re saying that a “medic” would be deployed, that is what the MET team and Behavioral Crisis team are, you are essentially proposing that we add another layer to what we have. You should talk to Cori Planck at the City. Calls to 911 will either be re-directed to the Behavioral Crisis Response team or the caller will have the option of pushing a button and getting connected to them directly, they don’t know yet – either way, the Behavioral Crisis response was literally created to not have police and fire go to the scene and escalate the situation.

Jordan Cockeram
8 days ago
Reply to  Still Nope

Hi Still Nope,

Whoever is needed (based on what they know about the person) would be deployed. A medic, someone from MET, etc.

Thank you for the tip!!!! I will definitely reach out to Cori.

I’d love to chat with you more and hear your thoughts and ideas, you seem like you’re very versed and knowledgable on the subject! Give me a call or email sometime 🙂

Jordan
(323) 250-0992
JC@JordanForWeHo.com

Still Nope
Still Nope
1 day ago

*face palm* the MET team is a medic. We do not dispatch fire and EMT to situations with the homeless. We dispatch MET or an off duty deputy. Have you spoken to ANYONE at the City about how we deal with homeless individuals or have you only spoken to Santa Monica about how they deal with theirs?

:dpb
:dpb
12 days ago

With all respect to and acknowledgements of good intentions by Jordan Cockeram; I attended Larry Block’s 4th of July barbecue where 2022 city council candidates were asked to make their initial remarks about why they were running to be elected on November 8. Jordan Cockeran did not have any reasons beyond how it used to be in Weho and Boystown (sic). Now he is versed in Unite 11 speak and citing problem solving measures from the City of Santa Monica which is what Lindsey Horvath, Sepi Shyne and John Erickson have been doing to the detriment of West Hollywood. We… Read more »

Manny
Manny
12 days ago
Reply to  :dpb

Agreed. Plus, in just about every way we should be going the opposite of what Santa Monica does.

Better Understanding
Better Understanding
12 days ago
Reply to  Manny

Why is it that you are so opposed to a plan that works well with Santa Monica?

Manny
Manny
12 days ago

36% increase since 2020. Nothing is working well in SM.

Better Understanding
Better Understanding
11 days ago
Reply to  Manny

Jordan gave a plausible explanation. Please read and consider.

Ham
Ham
11 days ago

Nothing is working well in Santa Monica.

Better Understanding
Better Understanding
12 days ago
Reply to  :dpb

Could you please explain your understanding of Jordan Cockeram’s connection with Unite 11?

Jordan Cockeram
11 days ago

Thank you for asking this, because I’m curious too! 😆 From my understanding, I think I’m somewhere between their Public Enemy #2-4 😂

Jordan Cockeram
11 days ago
Reply to  :dpb

Hi :dpb! Hi again! At the 4th of July BBQ I spoke more about how the city needs to focus on issues that matter to the city, not focus their energies on the overturning of Roe V Wade (not that that isn’t a very important issue, but it’s not something we can solve on the city level). I can assure you that I am NOT supported by Unite 11, they’re actively doing everything they can to make sure I don’t win 😆. I saw an article in the Santa Monica Press about Project Connect and reached out to Dr. Karthik… Read more »

Joe Bologna
Joe Bologna
11 days ago
Reply to  :dpb

Thank you. Well said. I’m still waiting for the bleeding hearts to welcome homeless people into their own homes to prove that they are sincere in their compassion. But I’m sure I’ll be waiting a lifetime.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
11 days ago
Reply to  Joe Bologna

Martha’s Vineyard is heavily populated with compassionate people who are eager to help!

Oh wait!

Ham
Ham
12 days ago

We shouldn’t be reorienting society because of these people. They should be removed and placed into treatment and work programs.

Jordan Cockeram
11 days ago
Reply to  Ham

Hi Ham,

I agree with you! That’s what Project Connect does. It allows us to gather information on where they need to be placed: alcohol/drug rehab, mental health facility, actual transitionary housing (for people who lost their jobs and are homeless because they couldn’t pay rent), etc.

40
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x