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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Is Placement of 40-Unit Project on Lincoln Apartments Next to Schools and Neighborhood the Wise Choice?

Venice Community Housing and SPY (Safe Place for Youth) want to build 40 units on Lincoln Blvd a short distance from St. Mark’s School and Coeur d’Alene and a few nursery schools. Is this a wise choice?

Tracy Carpenter, a neighbor, says “no.” Too many dangerous incidences as reported by police and paramedic responses to area.

This is the speech she gave at the Land Use and Planning Committee meeting that was recently held over for lack of outreach in the community. It is reprinted here because of the facts. Date for a new hearing has not been set; however, the Venice Neighborhood Council, is set to hear the project 17 March.

I live down the street from Safe Place for Youth. I volunteer with an organization that supports homeless people, but I think that saying yes to every single homeless housing project without using common sense is irresponsible.

The safety of the 800 children who go to school and live in this neighborhood, is our primary concern. Since SPY’s inception we’ve had many problems. Most recently, there was a man from SPY wielding a chain and threatening people and smashing windows, shutting down Garfield Ave and causing a lockdown at St. Mark’s School. There are some people who go to SPY for help, but they are also a magnet for people like that man. People that go to SPY aren’t screened to see if they are sex offenders or pedophiles and they literally share a property line with a school.

In the last 3 years police and fire have been to SPY numerous times – with recent responses for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Violent Mentally Ill, Overdose, Battery, Burglary, and Vandalism (and that’s with them only having drop in hours 3 afternoons a week). At Gateway Apartments, VCH’s other supportive housing project that is half the size of Lincoln Apartments, in the last 3 years, the fire dept has responded 132 times, and the police have responded 46 times.

Lincoln Apartment has 39 supportive units of which, 50% of units will be for 18- 24 year olds, with no sober living requirement. Since City records show VCH is seeking Prop 2 funding, the other 50% of units will be for those with serious mental illness (with symptoms of psychosis or violence), with no requirement for them to seek treatment. Keep in mind that it’s illegal to have a liquor store or pot dispensary within 600 feet of a school.

This project is not Compassionate –
The units at Lincoln Apartments will cost taxpayers about $500,000 each to build, for a total of $20 million. There simply is not enough money in the budget to give all of the 60,000 homeless people in LA County a $500,000 apartment (plus the cost of services). Spending all of the money on a small percentage of people, while leaving the vast majority to languish on the street is not compassion, it’s corruption. And it’s certainly not cost effective as claimed in VCH’s slideshow. We need to utilize more efficient solutions, like collaborative housing.

A committee of the US National Library of Medicine “examined studies that claimed to assess the cost-effectiveness of supportive housing and found that, at present, there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the supportive
housing model saves health care costs or is cost-effective.”

This is not a nonprofit project. According to public records, VCH will build the project using public funds and then will sell 99.99% to private investors – those investors collect rent subsidized by our taxes, while VCH takes the capital from the sale to invest in new properties to achieve their goal of building more projects in Venice.

Our small community of Venice has more current and planned homeless housing projects than all of the other communities in Council District 11 combined. They are making the assertion that Venice is not doing its part to supply subsidized housing. This is false. VCH’s analysis looks only at supportive housing units funded by HHH, while ignoring those funded by other sources, like Prop 2.

According to Planning Urbanism, Venice has the 8th highest rate of subsidized housing in all of Los Angeles (with 1860 low income and supportive housing units), and the highest rate, by far, in Council District 11. And this is not including the planned projects: Thatcher Yard (98), Median Project (140), Rose Ave (34), Lincoln Apts(40), Bridge Housing (154) – which is an additional 466 units – which brings it to over 2300 low income and supportive housing units in Venice.

Not even including the planned projects, Venice has over 5 units of affordable housing per 100 people. Brentwood and the Palisades combined have .21 units of affordable housing per 100 people. The over concentration of housing and services in Venice, has only caused the homeless population to go up in our community, while going down in surrounding communities (Source: LAHSA). And, keep in mind, those homeless in Venice do not get priority for the Lincoln Apartments.

With 4 stories and a rooftop deck (overlooking St. Mark’s playground area), the height of this building will set a dangerous precedent for Lincoln, Venice Blvd, and Washington Blvd in Venice. We’ll see traffic and parking problems like we’ve never seen before. Current plans contain only 6 parking spots for staff, volunteers (of which, they have 20 volunteers on any given day), guests, and residents. They currently have drop-in hours 3 afternoons a week and want to expand to 7 days a week, which means more traffic to this area and into our neighborhood.

I’ve e-mailed you all a copy of our petition against this project with over 1000 signatures.

By law, if approved, this building must remain affordable housing for a minimum of 55 years. Societies require balance to avoid problems. We don’t advocate putting a motorcycle track next to a nature center. Those are both fine, but put them side-by-side and there will be problems. Those experiencing homelessness and the children who go to school and live in this neighborhood deserve better.

Comments (3)

  1. H.García

    I’ve seen so many teenagers openly drinking and smoking and vaping and shooting up on Garfield Ave. waiting for their friends to come out of SPY now that I can only imagine how much worse this is going to be when SPY is open 24/7. If it were just a neighborhood street that’s one thing, but right up against an elementary school?

  2. Fed Up in Venice

    Based on the incidences occuring in only a few days since ABH has been open, anyone who thinks this housing is an appropriate location needs to have their heads examined. (And, I’m willing to bet does NOT have kids attending St. Marks). This madness has to stop.

  3. Venice Citizen

    Enabling vs. helping.
    I remember when SPY first moved into their location without permission or notifying the neighborhood, then making promises to keep their youths from committing criminal activities… Well that never happened & many of the “helpless” youths that hang out on Abbot Kinney assaulting people come to SPY just for the free food & gift cards without utilizing services intended to get them off the streets. LAPD officers will confirm many of house & vehicle break-ins near the drop-in center are committed by youths being served at SPY.

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