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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

County, City Puts C3 to Work on 3rd Ave

C3 copy

By Barbara Osborn, Communications Director for County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl

As part of LA’s unprecedented efforts to expand services and housing for people experiencing homelessness, a recently undertaken and successful pilot program will expand into Venice beginning in October 2016.

The program, known as Venice C3 (County-City-Community Partnership), will focus on men and women in the area around Third Avenue and Rose Avenue in Venice where there is a concentration of individuals living on the sidewalks struggling with housing, mental illness, and substance abuse.

Venice C3 is a partnership between LA City, the County of Los Angeles, the Department of Health Services, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Behavioral Health Services and St. Joseph Center.

The C3 model systematically engages people living on the streets; provides immediate access to resources such as interim housing, urgent care, primary care, mental health services and substance use disorder treatment; and helps them regain health and housing stability.

The C3 model is built on an intense three step process: Step One: An outreach team, working five days a week, begins to engage people living on the street. Step Two: As individuals living on the street get to know and build trust with the outreach team, they are assisted in connecting to various services and programs, including substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, detox, or bridge housing as appropriate. Step Three: Individuals are supported to move into permanent housing and linked to ongoing supportive services and treatment.

“I am very grateful that we are able to bring this highly effective, evidence­-based program to Venice,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “We already know what works in tackling homelessness. Men and women need access to services to help stabilize their lives, and they need a home. That’s what Venice C3 is all about.”

In Year One, the Venice C3 team has set a goal of engaging 300 individuals, or roughly one-third of the men and women who are homeless in Venice, providing services to 150 of them, and securing permanent housing for 75 individuals. These projected goals are based on the success of the initial C3 pilot program.

“The homelessness crisis is the most urgent issue facing our neighborhoods, and the C3 model is a proven solution,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents Venice. “Working with Supervisor Kuehl’s office and local partners, we are going to make real progress toward the functional end of homelessness in Venice. For too long, Los Angeles has failed to address homelessness, leaving people on the streets and allowing encampments to take over our neighborhoods. Both the people living on the streets and the neighbors who want clean and safe communities deserve and demand a lasting solution to this crisis, which must include housing and services to be effective. This Venice C3 will make life better for everyone in the community and is a big part of the ongoing effort to end homelessness.”

Va Lecia Adams Kellum, President & CEO of St. Joseph Center said, “I have been working in homeless services for more than 20 years, and I have never been more hopeful about our ability to end our homeless crisis. Venice C3 provides exactly the mix of services and housing that we need.”

“Earlier this year, the County and City of Los Angeles adopted unprecedented and comprehensive plans to end homelessness. Venice C3 is exactly the kind of cooperative effort between government and community organizations called for in those plans. Over time, efforts like Venice C3 will dramatically reduce the number of men and women living on the streets,” said Wendy Greuel, Chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Commission.

Venice Is Over Concentrated with the Homeless; Ratio is One Homeless to 40 Venetians; Is Venice No 2 for Highest Ratio of Homeless-to-Residents in California?

homeless
On Sunset at 3rd.

By Sue Choi

If you are feeling like “it’s never been as bad as it is now” in Venice, what you are feeling is the concentration of the un-housed per resident. It is one very powerful reason we need to stop Bonin’s plan to bring all his homeless initiatives into Venice.

With a homeless population of 33 residents for each homeless person, Santa Cruz is only slightly worse off than Venice, which has 40 residents to each homeless. The national average is 476 residents to one homeless. Do you think cities like Portland or San Francisco are bad? They come in at 166 and 119.

Want a peek at where Bonin is taking us? Or perhaps we are already there. Look at this in-depth 2015 survey of the homeless people in Santa Cruz.

https://blog.civinomics.com/2015/04/07/the-reality-of-homelessness-in-santa-cruz/

1. Is Santa Cruz your hometown? 61.6% NO

2. Were you homeless when you arrived in Santa Cruz? 68% YES

3. Do you have a diagnosed mental illness? 49% YES

4. Do you think Santa Cruz attracts homeless people? 75% YES

5. Follow up to prior question: Why? After climate, the top answer was BENEFITS AND RESOURCES.

Is this what we want in Venice? How much has already happened? Funding to increase supportive street living is turning Venice into a homeless industry town. Social media quickly identifies which towns tolerate rampant street living.

In this list of global homelessness, note that in SF, half refuse to live in shelters offered to them.

http://list25.com/25-cities-extremely-high-homeless-populations/3/http://list25.com/25-cities-extremely-hi…

And it’s going to only get worse. SF is considering an option to ship the service resistant out of town.“Proposition Q is a controversial measure that would rid San Francisco of homeless encampments. If passed, the city would give residents of tent encampments 24 hours’ notice to relocate to a shelter or accept a bus ticket out of town. Law enforcement would be permitted to seize tents and other belongings.”

Bonin’s poorly considered plan to do more of what doesn’t work instead of seeking to change the approach to homelessness will attract the people who are least likely be helped. We all know this, yet Bonin insists that 3 new projects (all of them in Venice) will not impact our small community and will not attract more homeless. 

To make a difference, contact Bonin’s office and oppose his three proposed projects, PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT to do so if you are a new voice to this opposition. Documented communication of WIDESPREAD opposition is important.

Bonin’s office: 213-473-7011 and 310-575-8461

mike.bonin@lacity.org

taylor.bazley@lacity.org

mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

Homeless services need to be distributed across all communities. Like all public services (library, post offices, parks) EVERY neighborhood should have a suite of homeless services that aims to get them off the streets. EVERY neighborhood should have the responsibility to help a limited number of people in need, but also the right to serve the people who work hard to house themselves.

Instead of fixed storage, mobile storage and mobile showers is better outreach as more people can participate in this scalable option.

Instead of RV parking in residential neighborhoods, Safe Parking spaces distributed in small clusters should be designated and managed. This is also another opportunity for outreach as zero outreach happens to RV dwellers in residential streets.

Instead of massively expensive new housing, conversion of existing structures should be considered. At a rate of $400-500k per unit, new permanent supportive housing is unsustainable. Other options need to be on the table for permanent supportive housing.

When Bonin is voted out of office, we will have a better brain trust to tackle useful solutions, not more of the same. Until then, his homeless industry takeover plan must be stopped.

 

Becky Dennison Says Never Mentioned Jones Settlement

Becky Dennison, executive director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC), has clearly stated that she never said the Jones Settlement housing requirement had been met, and furthermore, has stated that she never even addressed the subject, as reported, at the previous Venice Neighborhood Council meet.

Becky Dennison, executive director of Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC), said “I never mentioned the Jones Settlement in my comments last week and never ‘admitted’ that the settlement has been met. I never spoke to housing production within the Jones time frame (2006 forward) and, in fact, specifically made my comments about production over the last 25 years. I never spoke to the geography of units produced, which is also critical to the specifics of meeting the Jones settlement. This should not be printed in any news source, as it literally has nothing to do with what I said and grossly misquotes me. There were plenty of other people there who can corroborate.

Wrede Critiques the Numbers–“Venice Has A Massive Homeless Infrastructure, An Intensive Concentration of Homeless Services; There Should be a Moratorium”

Venetian Chris Wrede critiques the number of and the square footage of the homeless properties from Councilman Mike Bonin’s council district and compares figures to other council district contributions and then lists the council districts that have not contributed. Wrede also notes  other inequities in the Venice picture.

Now Wrede owns the statistics and whips  out statements in quotable form, such as:

“The density of the Venice developments really is a big deal –putting a building or two in a large area is one thing, but cramming everything Bonin has planned into a 3-square-mile footprint really changes the way people live …

“I can’t think of a single community, outside of Skid Row, with such a massive homeless infrastructure and with such an intense concentration of homeless services …

“We should not be forced to live in a state-sponsored homeless encampment. Nobody should. Venice wants to help fight homelessness, but this is obviously unfair. A moratorium should be imposed on all permanent facilities until a comprehensive, balanced citywide plan is in place.”

Note:  Venice, with a population of 40,885, and the City of Los Angeles, with a population of 3,884,000, represents 1 percent of the LA City population  … and yet …

 By Christopher Wrede

  • Venice is the only neighborhood in all of Los Angeles in which more than one city-owned lot has been earmarked for housing projects, and in 10 out of 15 council districts no city lots have been selected for housing projects at all.
  • Moreover, the Venice Median and Thatcher Yard lots — which sit less than a mile from one another and measure about 220,000 square feet — represent 40% of the total space selected for homeless housing citywide, and 80% of the space Bonin has volunteered for homeless housing in his council district, CD11.
  • By contrast, Venice accounts for approximately 3% of LA’s total homeless population and less than 35% of the homeless population in CD11.
  • Finally, the notion that 12 lots have been identified for homeless housing is a convenient fiction fabricated to divert attention from the fact that the City Council’s Homelessness Plan — and Bonin’s Homelessness Plan, in particular — is mostly about turning Venice into a permanent dormitory for SoCal’s homeless (with three housing projects (including the MTA Lot), 24/7 toilets and showers for our burgeoning beachfront encampment, permanent storage, mobile showers, designated overnight parking with toilet facilities, and counseling services in a 3-square-mile area..

Background

Earlier this year , 12 City lots were listed in five Council Districts (CD). CD1 Gilbert Cedilla, 5 sites, CD7 Vacant, 1 site, CD 8 Marqueece Harris-Dawson, 1 site, CD11 Mike Bonin, 4 sites, and CD15 Joe Buscaino, 1 site. Of the four sites in CD11, two were in Venice, the Thatcher Maintenance Yard in the Oxford Triangle and the parking lot on Venice median, between Pacific Ave. and Dell Ave.

Note that 5 lots of the 12 are one big contiguous group so most consider the number 12 to really be 8.

According to a May 31, 2016 memorandum from the City Administrative Officer to the City Council, the City has identified 8 sites — representing a total of 540,723 square feet – for homeless housing projects.

4 of those 8 sites, accounting for 50 percent of the total square footage currently tagged for development, are in Bonin’s district. No other councilperson has identified more than one site for development, and 10 of LA’s 15 councilpersons have not identified any sites at all. In other words, Bonin has, to date, volunteered as much space for housing – both by number of lots and by square footage (to say nothing of dollar value) – as the other 14 councilpersons combined.

Of the 4 lots Bonin is currently aspiring to develop in CD11, one small lot, measuring 19,507 sq. ft., is in Westchester; another small lot, measuring 32,642 sq. ft., is in West LA; and two large lots (one at Thatcher Yard and the other on the Venice Median), measuring a total of 216,064 sq. ft., are in Venice. No city lots have been tagged for housing projects anywhere else in District 11 – including the Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Playa Vista and Mar Vista.

  • This means that Venice is the only neighborhood in all of Los Angeles where housing projects are being planned for more than one non-contiguous City lot and that Venice alone accounts for 40% of the square footage earmarked for housing projects citywide, even though it accounts for approximately 3% of LA’s total homeless population. It also means that Venice alone accounts for 80% of the total square footage Bonin has earmarked for development in CD11, even though it accounts for considerably less than half of CD11’s homeless population.
  • Similarly, Venice accounts for 30% of the affordable housing units currently in existence or in development in CD11, even though it only accounts for 15% of the total CD11 population. 80 of the housing units the VCHC provides for the homeless are in Venice, compared to about 120 units in the rest of CD11.
  • And Venice accounts for a grossly disproportionate share of the social services available to the homeless in CD11 through organizations like VCH, OFW Homeless Storage, SPY – Safe Place for Youth, The Teen Project, St. Joseph’s (at two locations), and Venice Family Clinic (at two locations), as well as various food programs. To my knowledge, there are only two major service providers in CD11 outside of Venice – Upward Bound House and the PATH outpost in West LA.
  • In addition to housing projects on the Venice Median and Thatcher Yardt, which are a mere mile apart from one another, I understand Bonin is working with the County on an affordable housing development just a mile north of the Venice Median lot on Main Street. As the recent controversy involving the copulating / smoking rabbits at Westminster Elementary underscores, he is also working (in violation of a standing court order) to install a storage facility at Westminster Senior Center. In addition to that, he is intent on providing 24/7 shower and toilet facilities for the world famous beachfront encampment that now extends from Windward Circle to the southern border of Santa Monica (and appears to have replaced the Boardwalk itself as Southern California’s Number 1 destination for out-of-state visitors.) And he has made it clear that Venice will be ground zero for various and sundry experiments in mobile showers, overnight parking and counseling services.
  • Given Venice’s condensed 3-square-mile footprint, this means that if Bonin gets his way, the vast majority of Venetians will find themselves living in close proximity to at least one housing project or service center, and a large number of us will find ourselves within a mile or less of all five of the permanent facilities Bonin is fixing to install in Venice, with Thatcher Yard to the South, the fully plumbed permanent beach encampment to the West, the Westminster Storage Facility and MTA lot to the north, and Bonin’s coup de grace, the Venice median monstrosity, smack dab in the middle.

 

CAO to Announce Mid-November Fate of Venice Properties; More City Sites To Be Designated

The fate of the two Venice properties designated for homeless, affordable will be announced mid-November, according to David Graham-Caso, communications director for Councilman Mike Bonin. The City Administrative Officer (CAO) Miguel Santana met with members of Council District 11 Tuesday.

There are 12 sites that were designated earlier this year to be developed by the City for homeless, affordable or sold and monies used for homeless elsewhere. Two of the properties are in Venice and have become the talk of the town for Venetians.

The two properties in question are the Venice Median site between north and south Venice Blvd at Pacific, zoned open space, used as a parking lot, and designated for homeless; and the Thatcher Yard in the Oxford Triangle, formerly used as a public utility yard, and designated for affordable housing.

“I can tell you that 49 developers responded to the request for proposals and qualifications with 73 development strategies (that is the total for all 12 vacant or underused properties throughout the city – not just the two in Venice),” according to David Graham-Caso. “When the CAO reports to the Council in mid-November, the report will include recommendations for either selling the properties or for developers to be given the opportunity to go out to the communities near the properties and try to come up with site-specific proposals for those specific properties.”

The Venice Update has asked the CAO office for the criteria used to determine development or sale but has not been given the information.

“As we have discussed before,” wrote Graham-Caso, “the approval process (if a development is pursued at a site) is one proscribed by law. Like any other development proposal, it needs to go through the various steps of the planning process (neighborhood council, planning commission, council). And in Venice, most projects get appealed to the California Coastal Commission.

“Additionally, the CAO informs us that in the next few months they will be also be examining an additional two dozen properties — in other parts of the city — for potential use or sale for affordable housing.”

LA Times Summarizes Venice Homeless Since Westminster Town Hall

LA Times has an article touching the Venice homeless situation since the town hall meet regarding Westminster Senior Center back in September. See LA Times Article.

3rd Ave Friday, Before Cleanup

3rd Avenue between Rose and Sunset has a large number of homeless sleeping on the streets. The homeless have extended on Rose toward 4th. On Sunset they have also grown toward 4th. During the cleanup hours, many of the homeless move their belongings onto Rose and onto Sunset. Bureau of Sanitation comes thru once a week to remove bulky items and trash and sanitize the sidewalks on 3rd. 3rd Avenue is shown ready to be cleaned.

3rd2
3rd Avenue, east side.

3rd1
3rd Avenue, west side.

Rose
On Rose between 3rd and 4th. Many stay here but there is no planned cleanup for Rose Ave.

Sunset
This looks like the permanent settlement on Sunset. There is no planned cleanup for Sunset either.

CD11 Has Largest Number of Homeless Living in Vehicles

Homeless Vehicle Occupancy j

By Darryl DuFay

The Comprehensive Housing Strategy, all 233 pages, is the blueprint for the County and City of Los Angeles for housing the homeless. This Homeless Vehicle Occupancy information comes from Strategy. Venice is in CD 11 with the largest number of vehicles belonging to homeless individuals and Skid Row, in contrast, is in CD 14.

Time to End Jones Settlement

Mark Ryavec

By Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association

 

I was recently asked the following:

I don’t understand why other cities seem to be able to create legal ways of protecting homeowners and LA cannot. It seems unjust to come home from work to someone sleeping, camping or storing their belongings on our doorstep.

Even worse are proposals that would have Venice take on a disproportional role & resources in addressing the problem than other neighborhoods… for example, why not have a camping/parking facility at the post office or library in Mar Vista?

Why does it have to ALL be located in Venice?

The answer is that this is all the doing of Mike Bonin, with an assist from City Attorney Mike Feuer.

I’ve attached below some of the sections from the legal brief prepared by our attorney John Henning establishing that the City Attorney – maybe with some nudging from Mike Bonin – could simply declare the Jones Settlement satisfied and direct the LAPD to go back to 24-hour enforcement of the City’s “no sleeping on a sidewalk” ordinance (LAMC 41.18) tomorrow.

Of course, to avoid a new lawsuit the LAPD would have to offer shelter beds or shared housing in every instance, but Rev. Steve Weller of the LAPD Homeless Task Force told me recently that he always has beds available somewhere in the county. And we know that most of those living on our sidewalks won’t accept housing anyway, they are either service resistant or describe themselves as “travelers.” So, just a documented offer of shelter will allow the LAPD to get these campers off your sidewalk or parkway.

So, what to do?

Call Mike Bonin’s office every day and tell his staff to end the Jones Settlement now and go back to enforcing 41.18.

The number is 213-473-701.

As to why Bonin is forcing residents to accept three new housing projects for the homeless, including those who are mentally ill and drug addicted, I believe it reflects an all out war to turn the clock back to a time when Venice was a diverse, low income haven amidst all the wealth of the other beach cities on Santa Monica Bay. The multiple vectors of rampant and increasing homeless encampments, the plan to place dangerous homeless in unsecured facilities next to homes, to change the character of Oxford Triangle with a dense, low income project, and the downzoning of residences across Venice through designation of historic districts and historic structures which allows little to no additions or alternate uses is already sending some residents fleeing and dramatically lowering some property values, in some instances by as much as $500,000 or more.

From Henning’s letter:

First, the primary provision of the Jones Settlement restricting the City from enforcing section 41.18(d) between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. has apparently been discharged and released due to the construction of 1,250 permanent supportive housing units. Thus, the City is now free to recommence enforcement of section 41.18(d) without further court proceedings.

Second, the federal appellate court ruling in the Jones case held only that enforcement of section 41.18(d) would be constitutionally prohibited when the person is sleeping on the street or sidewalk “involuntarily,” i.e., when no shelter bed is available.

Third, as long as persons violating section 41.18(d) are offered a shelter bed or other housing, enforcement of the ordinance is unlikely to trigger a successful lawsuit against the City.

LA Gets 65 Million in State Funds to Build for Homeless

LA Times reports that Los Angeles won nearly 65 million of greenhouse gas funds which are earmarked  to finance affordable housing near job centers and transit in order to reduce car trips.

The money allows for 553 below-market units to be built, the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced.   Nearly 350 of those residences are for formerly homeless individuals and planned for projects with supportive services. The remaining are for low-income households, who are increasingly struggling to afford a home in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.

See LA Times article.