Former county supervisor Edmund D. Edelman, has been selected to lead efforts to end homelessness in Santa Monica and the Westside.

The Santa Monica City Council approved a one-year $200,000 contract with Edelman Tuesday, December 13th, on the recommendation of retiring city manager Susan McCarthy.

Edelman will work with new Santa Monica city manager P. Lamont Ewell when Ewell relocates from San Diego in January.

Edelman has experience as a mediator, attorney, and a former senior public policy fellow at the RAND Corporation, a think tank based in Santa Monica.

“The key things Mr. Edelman will bring to this engagement are credibility and contacts in the mental health field, with the county sheriff, with elected and appointed officials region-wide, and with members of the judiciary,” McCarthy said.

His principal work is expected to be in the areas of advocating for the establishment of a mental health court, for effective regional governance, and high level leadership on the homeless issue.

Edelman was a county supervisor from 1974 to 1994 and is credited with creating the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which brought the Los Angeles city and county together to deal with problems of the homeless in a more uniform and consistent way, his supporters say.

Efforts resulted in the establishment of the Skid Row Mental Health Center in downtown Los Angeles, a detoxification program at the Weingart Center, and a Drug Court in Los Angeles County.

Edelman also assisted U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson in expanding services for homeless veterans at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration facility.

“I look forward to building a coalition of elected officials, community and business leaders, faith-based representatives, and nonprofit providers,” Edelman said. “We have a unique opportunity at this time to make a real impact on the problems of the homeless and the effects of homelessness in Santa Monica and countywide.”

Edelman also served on the Los Angeles City Council from 1965 to 1974.

He was also chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board in 1994 and the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordina- tion Committee, which he founded.

Edelman has a political science degree from UCLA and is a graduate of UCLA Law School.

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