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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Weller’s Homeless Story–No 16

Chaplains Steve & Regina Weller_edited-1

Regina said that the Canal Club on Venice Blvd donated $300 and “with this we’re sending a Venice guy home on the greyhound bus to Oklahoma City tomorrow. That makes 202 off the beach in Venice this year of 2015.”

When someone is sent home on the bus, the Wellers contact the family to make sure the individual has support on the other end. Otherwise, they are not sent home. This the Wellers do as well as buy the individual lunch for the trip. The amount to place someone in living facilities is approximately $591.

Regina has been mentioning the name Chaplain Steffanie. Steffanie is Steve’s daughter and now LAPD Chaplain helping the Wellers.

If you wish to donate, make checks payable to Foursquare Chaplains, 1400 Riviera Ave, Venice, 90291.

Clarissa

By Regina Weller
We noticed a silhouette of a very thin person with big hair in the distant fog. The cold morning mist had rolled in. The person stood tall and erect and poised toward us as Officer Ortiz, Chaplain Steffanie and myself walked over to see the situation. The articulate young woman said she was a vet for about two months until the Army detected a lung problem, then she was dismissed from the military with an honorable discharge. “I can’t find work and I receive $435 a month which is not enough for rent, so I’m sleeping on Venice Beach”.

“Would you like to get out of the cold and move into a duplex apartment with two other women? It’s $500 per month which includes utilities.” Are you kidding me?” she replied, “of course I would! But how?” I introduced ourselves as the Homeless Task Force, explaining that we had the funds to move her into the duplex today, which did not require first and last months rent or a credit check. We would offer the first months rent, and then help her to explore ideas for monthly support and employment. I told her I would return in an hour to give her time to think about it.

As we drove away to offer similar safe haven to others on the boardwalk, Chaplain Steffanie commented how sad it was to see the miserable condition of the homeless strewn along the sidewalks. “It’s not sad when we place them. When we place them, it’s a victorious moment” I answered.

The police officer had to go alone on a call, so that Chaplain Steffanie and I returned for Clarissa who was excitedly waiting for us. Though, this time there was a young man by her side who seemed reluctant for her to leave. I thought it might be her boyfriend, but she stated that she had just met him the day before, and that he was talking about religion and reading the Koran to her. Because he had bought her a meal, she listened but did not want his company. She got into our car and we transported her to new housing in Culver City. Steffanie and I then went to shop for blankets and linens in the local area. When we returned Clarissa was enjoying her new roommate and they were chatting like two giggly young girls. “I see what you mean,” Steffanie commented, “This is victorious”.

Clarissa called me three weeks later to wish me a Merry Christmas. She was upbeat with news regarding reconciliation with her mother. Her mother had come down twice from Santa Barbara to visit and brought her groceries. They had also recently attended her brother’s military graduation. With all that goodness, all I could say was “Victorious”.

Comments (3)

  1. I was wondering what the Wellers think of the Venice- Pacific-Dell median housing project. We’d like to see more housing for unhoused people in the Venice Community. Do you feel it would help?

    • Lee

      Why should taxpayers foot a massive bill to house a few when there are organizations, including the Wellers, that are able to house people for much, much less? And they do it quicker for more people.

    • Regina Weller

      Hello Deborah,
      Thank you for asking for our input. Our answer is inclusive: I think it helps – but it is only one option for about 100 people, and it obviously does not meet the “immediate” need, or satisfy the mass number of homeless currently in Venice.
      We would certainly would like to see housing for the unhoused in Venice, as well as every other community in California, including the other states. So that not any one area is over burdened, or overcome by fear that their community is being projected and mapped out as “a homeless sanctuary”.

      I’ve said this before “The days are over when one can walk by a homeless individual and socially disconnect, think he or she is not your problem, not at all worth it, and not your business. They are everywhere – on the sidewalks, standing outside the market, at the laundromat, in the parks and libraries, in hospital waiting rooms, sleeping at the beach, in your front yard, in the alley, and at your back door. The dilemma affects us all…”

      I’ve watched the homeless become marginalized by an archaic and bureaucratic system that has a hard time crawling out of paperwork to empathize with the human being in front of them. Conversely, I’ve witnessed the human spirit soar to unimaginable heights when presented with a vision, an opportunity and a plan that is adaptive to their individual hopes and dreams, and realized in a short time span. We’ve discovered we can place more people at a greater pace by employing both innovative and logical ideas, and by tailoring the solution to the individualized person. Rather than “systemizing” the person, we are personalizing the approach and it works.
      Regina Weller

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