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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Congressional Candidate Wright Proposes a “Township” for Homeless

Venetian Dr. Kenneth W. Wright, MD, who is running for the US Congress, California District 33, was asked by the Venice Update what he would do to help solve this homeless crisis California is experiencing.

Update explained that, as of now, 240 units of affordable/psh and 100 units for homeless transitional housing are planned for Venice’s three square miles and residents feel it is overkill. Update said that residents are suing because other areas within Congressional District 33 had no such plans for homeless and certainly not in proportion to Venice’s size of three square miles.

His answer was “I will send you some information.”

Dr.Kenneth Wright, MD is an internationally respected pediatric eye surgeon that has experience in caring for the underprivileged and homeless. His practice is in Beverly Hills next to Cedars Sinai hospital. He lives in Venice, the part referred to as Marina del Rey by the post office. Dr. Wright founded the Wright Foundation a non-profit 501c (3) that supports a pediatric eye clinic for underprivileged children in Los Angeles. He is also author of numerous medical books and articles.

The Township Option for Homeless — the Street is Not an Option

By Dr. Kenneth W. Wright

It is estimated that there are over a half a million homeless people in the United States and almost 60,000 in Los Angeles County alone. The County spent over $150 million last year on homeless programs and this coming year LA City is allocating almost $400 million.

Despite this huge commitment the crisis only seems to be getting worse.

The truth is, most traditional homeless programs provide stop-gap measures. While well-intended, outdoor showers, street lockers, relaxed overnight parking restrictions, blankets, and soup kitchens do not solve the problem and may act to increase the number of homeless.

Even shelters and transitional housing are only short term Band-Aids and do not address the fact that most homeless need much more than four walls and a roof. They need a structured environment: job training, life skills counseling, and drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation. Additionally, those with debilitating physical or mental disorders require ongoing life-long care.

The Township Option
I suggest a new approach — “The Township Option”. The Township is a large, self-contained, multi-acre area that will provide housing, scheduled meals, job training, and a safe, structured environment. Admission to the Township will be voluntary on referral from existing shelters or social services.

The Township will provide vocational training with on-site workplaces (e.g., furniture factory and construction site), gardens, mental health services, counseling, legal services, and alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation. Volunteers, including veterans, retirees, and professionals, can participate as adjuncts to staff. This is not an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” program. For some, it will be a way to transition into mainstream society, while for others the Township will be “home”.

One possible site for the Township is an abandoned military base such as Fort Ord in Monterey, California. Funding would come from a combination of private foundations, state and federal government, and income generated from the Township.

“The Township location will also address the ‘not in my backyard’ issue as it will not be in your backyard,” said Dr. Wright.  “Politicians have to remember, hardworking citizens who pay rent and are property owners have rights too.  City officials are responsible for keeping the communities safe and sane.”

Ted Hayes Established the Dome Village
The Township concept is not new. In 1993, Ted Hayes established the Dome Village for homeless. Located in Downtown Los Angeles, the Dome Village housed approximately 30 homeless singles and families for over 13 years. According to Ted, Dome Village residents got along well.

dome

Educational programs were offered, including workshops in computer literacy, job-searches, and legal issues. Many residents graduated to productive lives outside the Village, while others required chronic care. Ted did a poll of homeless people in Los Angeles and over 90 percent said they would be in favor of the Township Option. Having a large facility will also allow enforcement of vagrancy laws as there will be a safe beautiful place for the homeless to go.

Once established and refined, the Township Option could be replicated throughout the United States. If elected to Congress, I will sponsor a bill to fund a pilot Township Option project and to authorize use of an abandoned federal facility. The street should not be an option for those who cannot make it in mainstream society.

Comments (2)

  1. Venice

    Looks like a meth lab. The bums will love it

  2. Anonymous

    There already is one – It is called Venice.

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