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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

First Coffee with the Community Held at Safe Place for Youth

By Angela McGregor

Five representatives of the City, SPY and PATH met with eleven Venice residents to discuss the Bridge Housing Project at the MTA Lot at Sunset between Main and Pacific. This is the first of a series of weekly meetings that will go until November. Among the facts learned:

• Construction on the facility began in mid-July, and it is expected to open around the end of this year.

• In advance of the opening, an extensive outreach process focused exclusively on the Venice area will take place to identify the first 154 residents. No walk-ins to the facility are permitted; homeless seeking shelter there must first make contact with an outreach worker who will then interview them and sponsor their intake into bridge housing and the Coordinated Entry System. The facility itself will have an intake station with 30 staff members who will provide an introduction to the site for the new arrivals. St. Joseph’s and SPY are already working to identify local homeless who wish to enter the facility; however, they are awaiting a hard and fast facility completion date prior to compiling a final list.

• No drugs or alcohol are permitted in the site. While animal companions are allowed and will be housed there, human visitors are not. The site will have only one entrance, which will be secured by guards 24/7.

• The City has promised increased security and sanitation within a four block radius of the facility.

• Residents of the facility must first sign a “good neighbor” agreement prior to being admitted. Violence, drug abuse and other disruptive behaviors will not be tolerated at the facility.

Among the Venice residents at the meeting were three who live within a block of the MTA lot who were seeking answers to questions about the quality of live impacts of the facility, in particular noise from the HVAC units that will be installed and intense light from the giant klieg lamps that are already posing a problem. Allison Wilhite, the Venice bridge housing community liaison, stated that she would look into those issues and get back to them.

The hour went by quickly, and the need for more meetings was evident from the number of questions left unanswered by a lack of time. According to their outreach materials, SPY, PATH and the city plan to make these meetings a regular, weekly occurrence. To RSVP for the next meeting, visit bit.ly/coffee-abh. Allison Wilhite can be reached at: allison.wilhite@lacity.org.

Comment (1)

  1. Lisa Redmond

    Thanks for the update Angela. I was not able to attend, but plan on going to one in the future.

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