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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Councilman Bonin Walks on Centinela and Walks Away from Homeless Man with Fire

Councilman Mike Bonin had a special walk and talk with Mike on Centinela last week. It was by RSVP and the meeting place was not disclosed until before the walk. Apparently, one homeless man had a fire going. Councilman Bonin was shown walking away. Film was taken by Travis Biden and given to KABC.

More Facts Known About the Bridge Home Proposed for MTA Lot

This is the 30 May version from the council office of the Bridge Housing facility at the MTA lot on Sunset.   A newer, more readable version will be released shortly.  A is the pet area; B is the large 100-bed facility that will have the tent membrane over it and the women (to the west) will be separated from the men; C is the bathroom, laundry facilities; D is the offices for the supportive staff; E is the secured entrance from the parking lot and walk-in off the street; F is the bathroom, laundry facilities for the youth group; G is the 20-car parking lot; H is the five trailers for the 18 – 24 youth;  I is the eating courtyard.  Meals will be prepared offsite and delivered three times a day.  Buildings to the north of the pet area are existing buildings.

Venetians are starting to get acquainted with the facility that will be on the MTA site on Sunset between Main and Pacific.

A coffee get together was held last week with members of PATH and SPY, the newly appointed Venice Deputy for Bridge Housing Allison Wilhite, and about 10 members of the community.  Ten community members are all that are allowed.

Two stories have been written about the first meeting.  The one with the most site peculiar facts is McGregor’s story. The other story gives Frequently asked Questions.  So the facts revealed in the two stories and these following are the only facts in writing at this point.  At the first meeting Venice Update posed 5 questions.  The five questions and answers are:

1.   What are the house rules for occupants?

PATH operates under a low-barrier harm-reduction approach—we have four basic program rules:

  1. No acts or threats of violence

  2. No drugs or alcohol on site

  3. No theft or destruction of property

  4. No possession or use of weapons.

2.   What is the criteria for selection?  Please consider the fact that Venice is so transient.  According to a former pacific division police captain and Regina Weller, 90 percent of Venice homeless are transient.

The list for prospective guests is compiled by the assigned outreach teams in the Venice area. Guests are drawn from the defined outreach catchment area, which is limited to the Venice neighborhood. This is the same area from which additional guests will be drawn as people move through the Bridge Home. In addition to living on the streets within the area, people are prioritized based on an evaluation score which determines the level of need or urgency for the individual.

3.  How about those that will not go to the bridge home; they want to live on the streets?  Will they be allowed to continue living as they are on the streets?  Will sanitation and police discourage their presence on the streets of Venice.

As we know, in Martin v. City of Boise, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says that it is cruel and unusual punishment for any city to prohibit sleeping on public property unless  shelter is available.  A priority for the City is to provide the services and attention to connect people experiencing homelessness with alternatives to living on the street as quickly as possible.

The City’s CARE+ team, comprised of sanitation workers, outreach specialists, and local police, will conduct weekly comprehensive, posted cleanups at the encampments with the greatest need while providing mobile hygiene services. Additionally, the District’s CARE team, comprised of sanitation workers and outreach specialists, will deliver regular trash removal and cleaning services four days a week. These teams will work to mitigate the negative impacts of encampments on the neighborhood while abiding by the law as it stands. Each individual is unique and the pathway to housing will vary on his or her circumstances, which is why services like the Bridge Home and targeted outreach are so necessary.

4.  At closing, when the 3 years are up, what will you do with the people who remain within the bridge home?

Prior to closing, the site operators will wind down intake services on site and prepare for the transition. The plan is to move everyone into permanent housing before the closing of the site.

5.  Will you establish a neighborhood committee, group to represent those in close proximity so that their complaints regarding operation of the bridge home can be heard and solved?

In collaboration with the Council District, PATH will host a quarterly neighborhood advisory council to share information and data as it relates to the Bridge Home site.


Councilman Bonin Proposes More Solutions to Homelessness

From Council Office, 2 October 2019 — Continuing to push the City for faster and nimbler solutions to the homelessness crisis, Councilmember Mike Bonin today proposed expanding two programs that have been successful at quickly housing people living on the streets.

In legislation submitted today, Bonin urged the City to expand “master leasing” programs that use existing rental units to house people experiencing homelessness and to ramp up the “Encampment to Homes” project, which created a clear and focused pathway from street encampments to stable housing. The push builds on Bonin’s continued call for expanded use of shared housing, which houses multiple people as roommates in a single home.

“The pathways into homelessness are big, varied, and fast-moving. But the pathways out of homelessness are few, narrow, and move far too slowly,” said Bonin. “We need to break the mold and embrace quicker, less expensive solutions or homelessness will continue to increase, encampments will continue to proliferate in our neighborhoods, and people will continue to die.”

One of Bonin’s motions urged the city to invest, as the County of Los Angeles has done, in master leasing, or a “flexible housing subsidy pool,” in which a government agency or social service agency rents available, existing housing units and makes them available to agencies providing housing to people experiencing homelessness. The county program has housed more than 7,000 people since 2014. Bonin also called for the city to explore whether it can require or incentivize that housing units covenanted for low-income residents be used as resources for a master leasing program, creating an available supply of housing units for agencies seeking placements for people experiencing homelessness.

In an additional motion, Bonin asked for an expansion of the “Encampments to Homes” project. The project, piloted in South LA last year, brought together various agencies to focus intensively on selected encampments and match them with housing resources. The project, profiled last month by the Los Angeles Times, housed 106 people, nearly 93% of those who moved into a permanent unit remain successfully housed.

Previously, Bonin has led the push for shared housing, and has led efforts to invest in programs like the Share! The Self Help and Recovery Exchange, where homeless people live together as a group, often in a single-family home, sharing a bedroom with a roommate.

Read the legislation Bonin submitted today at https://11thdistrict.com/news/bonin-proposes-series-of-innovative-solutions-to-homelessness/.

City Council Approves PSH Site at Beethoven and Venice Blvd

From Councilman Mike Bonin’s September Neighborhoods First Newsletter

Mike took another step to add more permanent supportive housing on the Westside this month.

On September 17, Mike asked his City Council colleagues to start the process of seeking a development team that can come up with proposals for permanent supportive housing for the homeless, and a new headquarters and office space for the Disability Community Resource Center – DCRC in Mar Vista.

The property, owned jointly by the City and DCRC, presents a unique opportunity to provide affordable housing and services for people who are homeless and/or disabled, and the project will be designed to be completely accessible to people with disabilities.

To address our homelessness crisis, neighborhoods need to do their part. Mike is excited that the City is partnering with such a valued and longtime community organization to try to provide homeless housing in Mar Vista.

500-Foot Homeless Restriction Would Remove Homeless from Beach and Portions of 3rd, 4th

This is the map for Venice as shown in the LA Times article.

LA Times mapped the areas that would be affected by the proposed 500-foot radius restricting homeless from schools and parks. The motion, modifying LAMC 41.18(d), has been proposed by the Chair of the Homeless and Poverty committee Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and Councilwoman Nury Martinez.

Next step is to present it to the City Council for a vote.   Both civil rights attorney Carol Sobel and Councilman Mike Bonin are against it.  It was passed unanimously in City’s Homeless and Poverty committee with two absences, one of whom was Bonin.

Mark Ryavec of Venice Stakeholders Association made the statement that the proposal did not address the residential areas.

According to the map, a large portion of Venice would be restricted.  The complete Venice Beach area would be off limits.  Looks like 3rd and 4th would be be off limits to a great extent.  The Ocean Front and 3rd Ave are two dense areas for the homeless.  The LA Times estimates that about 25 percent of the City’s sidewalks would be effected.

The design of the proposal is to work around the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision.  The court said they never indicated that people could not be restricted from certain areas.

LA Times article.

The electronic LA Times article has many more maps and statistics.


Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s Email Address

(26 August 2019) The weekly email address for Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org.

CCC Says HSO Not Legal Without Coastal Development Permit

(2 July 2019) California Coastal Commission (CCC) says Venice needs a conditional development permit (CDP) for the implementation of the Home Sharing Ordinance (HSO) that went into effect 1 July.

Shannon Vaughn, district supervisor for South Coast area of California Coastal Commission, says Venice will need a Coastal Development Permit to be legal.

So far the council office has not responded with a statement for the Update regarding this situation.

Taylor Bazley, former Venice deputy for Councilman Mike Bonin, stated in a letter to Judy Goldman of Keepneighborhoodsfirst, “We are implementing the home sharing ordinance everywhere in the City and including the Coastal Zone. It is our attorney’s opinion that we are well within our legal grounds to do so without an amendment to our land use plan or file with the Coastal Commission.”

Councilmembers Propose Penalty for Vacant Housing Units in LA

LOS ANGELES – In a bold step to confront one of the root causes of the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, City Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Paul Koretz and David Ryu today called for the city to begin penalizing landlords who keep habitable housing units empty while tens of thousands of Angelenos are forced to live on the streets because of the high cost of housing.

Legislation proposed at today’s council meeting instructs the Housing and Community Investment Department to work with the City Attorney to report to the council with options for creating a charge for landlords who keep housing units empty. In other jurisdictions where similar efforts have been implemented, not only have vacancy rates declined, but millions of dollars have been generated by the charges to help create new affordable housing.

“No bed in this city should be empty when people are being forced to sleep on pavement,” Bonin said. “Empty home penalties encourage landlords to keep people housed, and they help raise needed funds to create more affordable housing. This is an important tool for addressing one of the root causes of homelessness in LA, and it is a step we desperately need to take.”

“Working class Angelenos are struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads.” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris Dawson “With the latest homeless count numbers, we have to work harder to find as many solutions as possible to open up more housing units as well as funding for them.”

An estimated 111,810 housing units in the City of Los Angeles are vacant, according to Census data, and with the 2019 LAHSA Homeless Count showing an increase in homelessness despite housing more people than ever before, it is clear that the housing crisis and homelessness crisis are inexorably linked. Vacancy penalties already exist in cities like Oakland, Washington DC, and Vancouver, B.C., and voters San Francisco are likely to soon consider a similar measure.

Bonin to Propose Penalty for Empty Housing Units in LA

LOS ANGELES – In a step to confront one of the root causes of the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, City Councilmember Mike Bonin will propose legislation Tuesday calling for the city to begin penalizing landlords who keep housing units empty while tens of thousands of Angelenos are forced to live on the streets because of the high cost of housing.

Bonin will host at a brief media availability at 9:45 am, immediately before Tuesday’s city council meeting, where he will be joined by representatives from both housing and affordability advocates, including some organizations that typically find themselves on opposing sides of local debates about development.

Councilmembers Act to stop Cities from Pushing Homeless into Neighboring Communities

The influx in Venice is not from neighboring cities but from other states. No one is from California, much less Venice. Our City officials refuse to recognize this situation. How do you keep people from other states from coming in and using the facilities that California has provided? It is beyond weather. This is a never-ending situation unless the flow is stopped… Reta Moser

(LOS ANGELES) – Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Joe Buscaino took action today to stop neighboring cities from pushing people experiencing homelessness into Los Angeles neighborhoods.

In a motion submitted today, the two councilmembers are asking the Los Angeles City Attorney to report to the council on what legal steps Los Angeles can take to compel other municipalities in the region to comply with court rulings regarding the enforcement of anti-camping laws. The enforcement of unconstitutional laws by neighboring cities is commonly used to push people experiencing homelessness out of a town and across the border into Los Angeles.

“It is maddening to hear reports from unhoused neighbors about how they are forbidden by police in neighboring cities from sleeping on sidewalks there and are directed to Los Angeles sidewalks,” said Bonin. “This is unfair and unjust and results in neighbors in LA being asked to bear the burden of solving homelessness for the entire region. Homelessness is not a problem that can be solved by pushing people into another neighborhood. We need to be on the same page as our neighbors and working collaboratively and collectively toward sustainable solutions to this urgent crisis.”