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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Homeless Count Shows Improvement, Still Work to be Done

paulMembers of the Venice C3 team in talking with individual in Venice. (Photo courtesy of St. Joseph Center.)

By Paul Rubenstein, VP, Development & Communications, St. Joseph Center

The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority has released the results of its 2018 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. Overall, the Count shows a reduction in homelessness of 3% across the County compared to last year. This year is the first time in four years that the number of people experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles did not rise. Upon hearing the Count results, St. Joseph Center President & CEO Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum said, “These numbers give me hope. They’re an important reminder that homelessness responds when we increase resources to address it. St. Joseph Center is doing seven times more outreach than we did two years ago, so it’s encouraging to see results like this.”

The numbers this year show promising trends in how strategic efforts and collaboration across the City and the County are paying off, but challenges remain. Housing affordability in LA County is a major concern, with median rents increasing by 32% since 2000 even as the median income has decreased by 3% over the same time period. Perhaps related to that decreasing affordability, more than 9,000 new people become homeless for the first time last year, which represents a 25% increase from the year before. Meanwhile, in LA Council District 11 (which contains Venice, Westchester, Mar Vista, and other nearby neighborhoods) 94% of homeless people remain completely unsheltered, compared with 73% across the County. Kenny Clipper, an outreach Case Manager at St. Joseph Center, said “I’ve worked with people on the Westside who have been on the street for years and are doing great now. This work takes time, but I’ve seen that the results are lasting and worth it. This year’s Count results tell me that we need to keep doing whatever it takes and not slow down one bit.”

When they passed Measure H last year, Angelinos responded strongly to the region’s humanitarian crisis. That funding is starting to show results, but we know much work remains. Motique Alston, a St. Joseph Center Outreach Worker who is formerly homeless herself, responded to the new numbers with resolve, saying, “To me the homeless count is a reminder of our 4,670 Westside neighbors we still need to bring home. For those of us who are dedicating our lives to ending homelessness—especially those of us who have experienced homelessness personally—this year’s count reinforces why we do what we do every day.”

About St. Joseph Center
St. Joseph Center encourages everyone to support policies that aim to increase construction of affordable housing in our neighborhoods and to back elected leaders who are advocating for those policies. State and federal partners need to follow the lead of LA voters and devote more resources toward services and affordable housing. It is critically important to have conversations in our neighborhoods and communities about bringing our everyone who is living on the streets into housing in our local neighborhoods. St. Joseph Center supports the EVERYONE IN campaign; visit the website everyoneinla.org to get involved and get more information.

St. Joseph Center is an independent, non-profit 501 (c)(3), community-based organization whose mission is “to provide working poor families, as well as homeless men, women, and children of all ages, with the inner resources and tools to become productive, stable and self-supporting members of the community.” The Center does not provide religious services or instruction and assists people regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof. The Center assists more than 7,000 individuals annually across the Westside and in South Los Angeles through a variety of integrated programs. To learn more about St. Joseph Center’s comprehensive services, please visit www.stjosephctr.org.

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