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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Tom Elliott to Councilman Mike Bonin

I have been asking this one question for several years now, and have not gotten so much as a raised eyebrow of encouragement: Why not Dockweiler Beach? Just a few miles south of Venice, and in your district, is almost four miles of shoreline, acres of parking, RV hookups, and bathroom and shower facilities — and no residences for miles around.

In the daily conversations I have with dozens of homeless on Venice Beach, a scant few express interest in housing of any sort; shelters, proper homes or otherwise. Let’s be clear, the handful that are seeking a way out can find it, thanks to the good graces of the various homeless services that are out there and that you espouse. But let’s also be honest in recognizing that ending homelessness in Venice is a bit akin to fighting for peace. We’re losing the battle. The stretch between Rose and Navy this morning was horrifying — the worst I’ve ever seen it.

There are successful programs in Santa Barbara County and elsewhere around California, similar to the one I’m proposing at Dockweiler: year-round homeless encampments that allow those down on their luck to sleep in designated parking lots. Residents have access to medical and social services, and for those that wish it, they can sign up for transitional housing programs.

I understand the initial reaction from naysayers might be, “This sounds like a serious case of NIMBY!”, but I am suggesting that this should be a totally voluntary program, not forced relocation. Consider the options for those who are facing another night of sleeping outside in Venice: They have to move their bedding back and forth across the boardwalk twice a day before and after curfew. Public restrooms are closed at midnight. There is no place to store their belongings. They’re constantly hassled by residents and police. RVs are constantly cited for parking violations and there is no place to dump their holding tanks. Dockweiler resolves all those issues.

The density and the current infrastructure in Venice simply cannot support the additional bodies (and all of their belongings) of those who prefer living outdoors. And this sort of treatment of human beings is not only inhumane, but unbecoming of our society. Let’s do the right thing and offer people dignity and an alternative to living in morass of the streets of Venice.

Thank you for reading.

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