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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Two Bridge Home Residents Thank Venice Residents for Their Beds at Night

“We should put “Thank You” signs up for all you people,” said Howie as he raised his arms wide to show the sign size in sincere gratitude for his bed No. 17 at the new Venice Bridge Home. “You’re the ones who made it possible<” he said as he looked at me and everyone on the street.

By that time Buda was part of the conversation too and he added and pointed to people in the street “and you and you and you all made it possible. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Well, if anyone wonders if these two are grateful , or if you don’t get the point after reading this story, please contact the Venice Update.

Saturday afternoon I decided to get out of my car and walk around the newly opened Bridge Housing project at Sunset between Main and Pacific. In fact, the project is not fully occupied yet but should be full soon. Several negative things have been reported. I had driven by at all times of the day and night and never saw anyone walking on the sidewalk. So I parked, put my six-pounder on a leash, and walked around the premises. Thought I would take a sneak peak thru the fence. Just as I got to, apparently, the entrance/exit gate, out came Howie. We almost bumped into each other.

We started an instant conversation and it was as if we had been friends for years and he wanted to tell me about his new digs. He was so happy. He was on his way to play guitar at the the Waterfront Cafe on Ocean Front Walk. He said “You know I really like to be clean.” He obviously had just taken a shower. “I can’t stand to be dirty and being on the street, I was always dirty,” he said as he looked at his arm. “I got scabs sometimes.” Venice has sand fleas and they bite.

Howie said he had lived at Market for seven years. He was originally from Boston and came to Venice via Las Vegas.  He plays guitar at the Waterfront Cafe and use to help push the piano out for the man who plays the piano at the Sidewalk Cafe during the day. He said he had worked in construction and would be happy to do odd jobs.

Buda was about to go in the gate but Howie introduced me to him and so Buda joined the conversation. Buda, who said his bed was No. 26 or 28, was born and raised in Venice. Went to all the Venice schools and ended up living on Canal Street in car ports. He had a pit bull named Penelope. When Penelope started to get friendly with my six-pound, hairy tid-bit for Penelope, I turned around. Hooter (the six-pounder) was telling Penelope she had gone far enough with the nose. Both Howie and Buda assured me noting would happen. Howie said she use to “growl at me when she passed but we have all settled in and feel so good about everything that even the dogs feel that way too. What a nice way to say one feels secure or what a unique way to measure security, measure peace.  “Now Penelope doesn’t growl at me or anyone.”

Howie said he was in his 60’s. He told me the exact number but I forgot. He said the staff was going to help him get social security. Eligible people on the street do not apply because of transportation, lack of papers, knowledge of how to do it. Both said they were told they would probably have Section 8 housing within three months and they were thrilled about that prospect. I don’t remember if I asked Buda how long he had been on the street but I have the feeling it was longer than Howie. Buda was in his 50’s.

I asked Howie if he drank or did drugs. He said he has an occasional beer and likes to smoke weed. It calms him down he said as he lit a cigarette or a marijuana cigarette.

Both Howie and Buda said the Home won’t allow drugs or alcohol on the premises so they both said they would not. They were too happy with their new digs to jeopardize that situation. One person had already been removed, probably the one who smashed car windows.  These two also said they loved the staff. I don’t know whether Buda used drugs or alcohol. I forgot to ask. It didn’t look like he did. Buda said he understood that Venice people were upset about the Bridge Home. He said “You guys worked hard to live here.”

About that time Antoine was going in the gate. They introduced me to him and Antonine said he was really happy to be chosen to be in the Bridge Home. I think Howie and Buda said he had lived in Venice all his life too. People introduce themselves and give their bed number… that is their address.  Not everyone in Venice has an address.  Howie said he lived on Market or at Market.  Buda said he lived in car ports at Canal Street.

All three showed a grateful face that cloaked another life.

Just as I was about to film Howie and Buda, a man tried to take a bike away from a gal who was riding it about 50 feet away. Buda, who saw it first, started yelling at the guy and going that way. The man left the scene. The gal got off the pavement, and retrieved her bike.

Then Buda said he had better go in. I don’t want them to think I had anything to do with it. I said well you didn’t. I was here and would tell them you stopped it. But he didn’t want to jeopardize his position with his new found home. Life is fragile sometimes.

Oh, my goodness. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Mike Bonin, you could not have provided two poster boys for the Bridge Home greater than these two.

Comments (5)

  1. Mike Bravo

    lol.. he’s thanking the wrong people

  2. Linda Lucks

    Thank you Reta for introducing us to some happy people.

  3. Linda Lucks

    Thank you Reta!

  4. Rick Swinger

    Lets hope these guys can stay safe in a shelter with no weapons check except for the honor system of that now famous “Amnesty Box.” Also lets hope they will all wash their hands and avoid the coronavirus that will effect the homeless community too. Social distancing might come into play at some point in which case Im not sure if Eric Garretti and Mike Bonin have a plan for this shelter or any in the pipeline.

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