History Brings A Human Face To Homelessness In Santa Monica

The pacific ocean waterfront of Santa Monica with, ashore from the beach, a few modest high rises in the distance
Santa Monica photo by Navin75 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Santa Monica, a California City with a history of both homes and homelessness that it feels is important to share.

Here’s a story that begins in Santa Monica, California. It could possibly end closer to where you live . . . just about anywhere in the world. It’s titled History of the housed and unhoused, examined in new museum exhibit.

Something of the spirit that triggered the existence of this recently opened SMHM exhibit is captured in the following article. In Santa Monica, ‘SMHM’ is all you need to know if you live in the city. It’s a little like the AGO in affordablehousingaction.org’s city of Toronto.

AGO? That would be the Art Gallery of Ontario. And for California locals, SMHM is quickly recognizable as the Santa Monica History Museum. Only cautious out-of-town reporters need to check out what the initials stand for (Yup. That’s Us.) But why would we bother? Because we think this recent museum initiative is a great idea, and deserves to be replicated elsewhere.

Recently, Psychology Today published an article by Jennifer Gerlach. Her premise as a practising psychotherapist was a general need for the public to learn the faces of local unhoused people in order to appreciate their humanity and not demonize them. We feel this history exercise by the SMHM is an idea in the spirit of Gerlach’s proposal1.

Is the Santa Monica History Museum’s new exhibit an idea to be exported and help visitors appreciate the role of both the housed and the unhoused in their communities?

Read more in The Santa Monica Daily Press: History of the housed and unhoused, examined in new museum exhibit


  1. Read more of Jennifer Gerlach’s thinking in Psychology Today: A Person With a Face, Unhoused on a Cold Winter Night