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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Bonin Approves Innovative Means to Get People off the Streets

LOS ANGELES – Continuing his work to help get homeless people off the street quickly, Councilmember Mike Bonin has proposed legislation calling on the city and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to elevate a strategy of “shared housing” – a fast, effective and proven method of getting people off the street by matching them with roommates.

“Shared housing is a fast, nimble and cost-effective solution for many of those who need immediate housing,” said Bonin. “There are already great shared housing programs helping people in Los Angeles, and the city should make investing in this smart and fast solution a higher priority as we look to make the most of limited housing vacancies.”

With tens of thousands of people living on our streets, Bonin and his colleagues have made addressing homelessness and finding housing and shelter for as many people as possible as quickly as possible an urgent priority. Last November, voters approved Proposition HHH, which authorizes $1.2 billion for permanent supportive housing throughout Los Angeles. Many, if not most, of those units will take years to come online, and Bonin’s legislation was introduced to focus city resources as housing is built on efforts that can be taken quickly and in the meantime to house people.

Shared housing programs match individuals (including homeless persons or people at-risk of homelessness with their own source of income) to make the most of housing vacancies. One such program underway in Los Angeles is offered by Self Help And Recovery Exchange (SHARE!) on the Westside. SHARE! estimates that approximately 30% of homeless people in the County are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which could help offset rental costs in some of the SHARE! units. SHARE! identifies people who, despite not having enough to afford a place to live, have some source of income, and then helps match those people with others in a similar situation so that the combined income can offset the cost of housing and maximize the number of people using affordable housing units.

“SHARE!’s program is a great example of an innovative approach to getting people off the street quickly,” said Bonin. “This is exactly the sort of thing we should be investing in as the housing that will be produced by Proposition HHH is built.”

Shared housing was discussed at a Homelessness & Poverty Committee held late last year, where representatives from the LAHSA reported that in addition to pursuing a shared housing study, two pilot programs were being undertaken to investigate the feasibility of shared housing and expanding this model Citywide. Bonin applauded that work and introduced his legislation to ensure the City would continue to increase priority given to investing in and expanding shared housing.

In addition for asking LAHSA to move more quickly and encourage service providers to use shared housing to move people off the streets quickly and nimbly, Bonin also asked the City Administrative Officer to identify $50,000 in the city’s homelessness budget to fund a shared housing pilot program in his district.

The push for shared housing is one of several strategies Bonin has been pursuing to more quickly house people who are homeless. Bonin also:

    Launched with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl the C3 program – “County, City, Community” – to provide outreach, counseling and housing to the Venice’s homeless population

    Allocated $62,000 to Regina and Steven Weller and the Homeless Task Force to focus on housing people quickly through family reunification efforts and shared housing.

    Successfully fought for $18 million dollars in the city budget for rapid rehousing vouchers.

    Endorsed and pledged seed money for a Rapid Reunification Program being developed by the Homeless Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

    Visit 11thdistrict.com/shared_housing_legislation to read Bonin’s legislation and to find out more.

Comments (9)

  1. John Reese

    Only Will Hawkins would have the gall to think that they came up with the concept of shared housing. This idea has been around for years. Is there any solution for homeless that you don’t plan on taking credit for?

    • Will Hawkins

      No John, I think I’ll just continue taking credit for the solutions that the Homeless Committee present to the community. I don’t feel any shame in promoting the excellent work this committee does. Where the shame lies is when that work gets ignored..much like with our Mobile Storage plan.

      There are a number of concepts that have been banging around over the years and I think our motion to recommend Section 8 housing vouchers being allowed for roommate situations is unique and stands on it’s own. I presented this specific motion at the January Venice Forward meeting and Mike Bonin agreed, following it up by connecting me with other city administrators to help the flesh it out.

      You should try to attend some of our monthly meetings so you can see that process in action. This all is a collaborative effort and I encourage members of the Homeless Committee to think outside the box to find solutions. I really enjoy working with Bonin and Garcetti’s office to help do everything we can to improve living conditions for both the housed and unhoused. I believe that we can make some positive change here and in some ways we already have (i.e Miracle Messages Reunification Program).

      There are a lot of positive contributions being made in our community by dedicated and motivated volunteers and they deserve all the attention they can get for it.

  2. Will Hawkins

    The Homeless Committee has been working on drafting a similar program for a few months now and discussed it openly with Mike and other city officials. The fact that it was presented to the community just days before Bonin announced his version of it to the city council doesn’t change how affective it would be. I guess it doesn’t matter that we identified this solution already. The good thing is that it’s getting attention from the people who can make it actionable. My committee and I are flattered and excited that another one of our innovative motions is getting so much attention.

    • reta

      The Homeless Committee should really be proud of this. They have worked very hard to come up with new–never done before–ideas. Their idea of mobile storage at their first meeting made me realize it was a committee to watch and it hasn’t let anyone down yet. Keep it up … you guys, gals rock!

  3. heidi

    I don’t really care how it happens, just that it happens. SHARE! and collaborative housing are an amazing solution that gets people housed immediately with amazing support services and self help resources to make sure people are armed with the tools to reintegrate into positive communities and live purposeful lives. In my mind, politicians don’t have to come up with all the great ideas, but they do need to make sure they get implemented.

  4. Steve

    This was first presented by our own Venice Homeless Committee. Shameful that Bonin claims this innovative solution as his own. Shame!

    • John Reese

      Shameful that anyone on the homeless committee thinks it was their idea. Pretty sure this idea has been around longer than you have. (See Google.)

  5. Nick Antonicello

    Another proposed solution just weeks before the election. What a coincidence! What an insult to the electorate. #Vexit

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