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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

What is it like living next to St. Joseph Center? … Longtime Venetian comes forward

Note: See story by Rick Feibusch of WatchDawg at http://veniceupdate.com/2016/05/17/rick-feibush-of-watchdawg-remembers-about-st-joseph-center/ with picture of damage.

I am a life long Venice resident, my father is a life long Venice resident. My family has lived in Venice since the 1940s. I live at XXX Flower Ave., the closest home next to the St. Joseph’s Service Center on Lincoln and Flower. My family and myself have been homeowners in Venice for decades. Our Flower Ave home was the first home I lived in after I was born. I am a true Venice resident from a true Venice Family. I remember growing up on Flower Ave, it was a lovely street filled with neighborhood children and old ladies taking walks; neighbors stood outside talking. It is very different now, no thanks to the St. Joseph Center.

Last night, I was minutes away from my home catching fire from a fire set by a female transient and client of the St. Joseph’s Service Center. WE HAVE DAMAGE TO OUR PROPERTY FROM THIS FIRE. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

I was home the day that Sr. Judy from the St. Joseph’s Center knocked on my front door to introduce herself to me and let me know the St. Joseph’s Center would be moving in next door. I voiced my concern about security issues, already familiar with the problems and issues surrounding the center and it’s impact on neighboring residents on Rose Ave. Sr. Judy promised the neighborhood would only get better with the St. Joseph’s Center, that the St. Joseph Center was a good neighbor and they would be providing security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These were all lies.

In recent years, my father has been mostly bed ridden so he has not been able to complain about the nuisance the St. Joseph’s Center is on a daily basis. I assure you every time family visited, a call had to be made to the St. Joseph’s Center, police or complaint made to their inconstant security about their clients. I won’t even begin to go into the time the police surrounded the house with guns drawn, entered our home and searched the house because a mentally ill St. Joseph’s Center client told the police her child had been kidnapped and was being kept in our house. This was completely untrue and my disabled father was clearly affected.

Sister Acts Unethiczlly
Or the time, as a college student at LMU I spoke at a town hall meeting at Penmar Park hosted by then councilman Rosendahl to discuss the neighborhood concerns about the St. Joseph’s Center move to Lincoln and Flower. This meeting was of great importance as the immediate residents in the area were never officially notified of the plan for the Center to move in. I exercised my right to speak for 2 minutes at the meeting to voice my concerns about security issues effecting the residents due to the St. Joseph’s Center. Sr. Judy then took that information, distorted it and went to my professors, department chair and mentors at LMU, using her influence as a nun and lied to them. She told them I went to the meeting representing Loyola Marymount University and bashed the center. She said I was quoted doing so in the Los Angeles Times, I never was. She told them I was a problem. She used her influence to unlawfully access my record at LMU to find out which classes I was taking and who my professors were. She contacted every single professor I had. She attempted to influence the professors that were writing my graduate school recommendations. She tried to destroy me any way she could because of my security concerns. I sought legal counsel, I made a formal complaint with the university. I went to my pastor to seek guidance. I was issued an apology by the then St. Joseph Center executive director, Rhonda Meister and shortly after, Sr. Judy was transferred out of the St. Joseph’s Center.

We are victims of the St. Joseph’s Center, my entire family, my entire neighborhood.

I am back living in my home at Flower Ave. There is a constant disturbance to the neighborhood by the client’s of the St. Joseph’s Center. During business hours, their clients are held in the alley right outside my fence. These clients are the most severe, they yell and scream obscenities all day long with little control.

Security is a farce
Security does very little to manage the situation. I have noticed, the most severe clients stay close the the center all day and night. They sleep in the neighborhood, often in front of my house, all up and down the street, in the alley. The higher functioning clients are well enough to venture further away. The lower functioning stay close, are mentally ill and are a drain on the area and nuisance to the residents and home owners. It is these lower functioning clients that are of the most concern and include this client that set the fire and has caused other damage.

There is absolutely no security presence on the weekends, zero. The residents were promised security 24/7 when the center first moved in. It actually was provided for a very short time in the beginning. As time passed, St. Joseph security started to lessen, a few hours here, a few days there. Now there is no security on the weekends, holidays, or when the St. Joseph Center closes for vacations. Weekday security supposedly ends in the evening but is usually only visible during business hours leaving the neighborhood residents to fend for themselves. Calls of concern after hours and all weekend are answered by an answering service that is unresponsive and rude. The issues surrounding the St. Joseph’s Center are only getting worse and time goes by.

Constant sex, trash and feces
I have seen St. Joseph’s Center clients having sex in their client holding area on a Sunday morning while going for a walk. The alley is filled with trash from their clients. The Center previously promised to keep the alley clean, they don’t. Countless times we have had feces from these homeless clients on our property. We have had their client’s trespass on our property more times than I can count, plug into our outdoor power outlets to charge their devises, set camp in our backyard and actually attempt to live in our garage. I once came home to find two sleeping on my front yard overnight. I did not feel safe to walk up to my front door. There was no St. Joseph’s Center security, I couldn’t leave my car until the police arrived.

Previously, my parents met with a mediator and Va Lecia Adams, executive director of the St. Joseph’s Center to discuss security as our home was the one to me most effected by their clients. They promised to try to include sufficient security in the budget. Clearly, the current security budget is insufficient and is making the St. Joseph’s Center a negligent neighbor. They aren’t trying hard enough with this budget.

Fire bug consistently causes property damage
The St. Joseph’s Center client responsible for last night’s fire has been an ongoing nuisance to the neighbors and businesses immediately surrounding the St. Joseph’s Center. It is documented that she has vandalized and caused property damage to the immediate area and the St. Joseph’s Center does nothing. Last night’s fire filled my property with embers, my home with smoke. The fire fighters told me it was not safe for me to spend the night in my own home due to the smoke. I had to leave my home and sleep elsewhere for safety. How far is this going to go? How much more suffering do we have to tolerate at the hand’s of the irresponsible St. Joseph’s Center? We will not be run out by the St. Joseph’s Center. There are many young children living on this block. What environment are we to raise our children in? If we play outside, as any family has the right to, we are surrounded by a constant soundtrack of obscenities, unsanitary living conditions, little protection and worse. Us moving away is not the answer, we are responsible tax paying multi-generational Venice residents. We demand 24 hour , 7 days a week security to be provided by the St. Joseph’s Center permanently. They are not good neighbors and do not belong in a residential neighborhood. When will they take responsibility?

Thank you,
Life Long Venice Resident

Comments (2)

  1. […] What is it like living next to St. Joseph Center? … Longtime Venetian comes forward […]

  2. J Tabar

    While it does sound like a horrendous living environment,some of the allegations made regarding LMU does appear somewhat “far fetched” It would have be helpful to have a more balanced story published. If both parties had an opportunity to contribute. Maybe a less bias picture would have been presented.

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