Venice Community Housing (VCH) had another meeting of the community for “community input” for the Venice Median project. Next meet will be held 15 April on the site. The meet was held at the VCH office on Rose Tuesday evening and about 15 attended.
People mentioned that the project, which consists of two buildings in the North and South Venice Blvd median, should be scaled down both in height and density, that the percentage of PSH (permanent supportive housing) units to affordable should be minimalized, that the Venice Canals maintenance area next to Grand Canal, was not shown, and that the final design should be more friendly, more reflective of the surrounding neighborhood. The question was asked if this project would follow and be committed to the Venice Specific Plan and Becky Dennison, director for VCH, said it would.
Dennison answered the oft asked question regarding selling the property and building somewhere else to provide more housing for those in need. She said that the VCH had a two-year commitment to come up with a plan. After that, she said it could be sold but that, she said, is up to the City.
Parking for Affordable and PSH Different
The question was asked regarding parking. Dennison said parking requirements for affordable and PSH units were less than the normal parking requirements of the Venice Specific Plan. She said that PSH units would be 1/2 parking space per unit and affordable, would be one. Based on this criteria, 68 PSH units and 68 low-income affordable-type units would require 102 parking spaces. The project is required to replace the 188 existing beach parking spaces. This totals 290. This figure does not include parking for any commercial spaces that might be added to the project. The figure of 450 had been stated before so the 290 figure gets closer to what can work.
Dennison made the statement that provisions would be made for the houses on the North Venice Blvd to enter Dell and South Venice Blvd.
Tenent Selection for 136 units Differs
Of the 136 homeless units, 68 will be permanent supportive housing (PSH); 34 will be Affordable units for low-income artists; and 34 will be for affordable low-income wage households. People wanted to know about the selection process.
The Coordinated Entry System (CES) will be used for the selection of tenants for the 68 PSH units. The CES is a question and answer summary of the person’s history and needs. Those most needy, based on CES, will be selected first. CES prospects are selected from County’s Service Planning area 5 or SPA5, which services the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Malibu, Santa Monica, and the communities in Los Angeles Council District 11 of Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista, West LA, Venice, etc. The Affordable unit selection will be by advertising for the available units.
Will this remove former Venice residents from street; Will this eliminate homeless from Venice streets
Residents have made it clear that they want these projects to be offered to Venetians who are homeless. This is very contentious subject with residents of Venice. There are Venetians who may be homeless somewhere. The people on the streets in Venice are not from Venice; they are transients from all over the United States. Others assume these costly projects will end homelessness in Venice as Councilman Mike Bonin stated. The CES application taken in Venice will show they are from Venice even though they may have lived in North Dakota the day before. So whether they are transients on the streets of Venice or former Venice residents, selection will still be based on CES need.
Provide Input, Not a Speech
At these meetings everyone is afforded the opportunity to be heard. It is a basic misconception by some at these meetings that those who live near, or even not near, the project and make comments are against helping the homeless.
“To ask questions, make suggestions, and ask for clarifications strengthens the project,” said Darryl DuFay.
“There is an erroneous judgment call that prevails during these discussions and this should be stopped or filtered,” said Reta Moser. “Those making long statements why they like the project or give “How I helped the homeless” testimonies, not only take time from those who sincerely want to provide input or ask questions, but they try to lay a guilt trip on those asking questions. The program says “provide input.”