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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

City Council Approves MTA for Bridge Housing

City Council approved the MTA lot on Sunset in Venice between Pacific and Main for Bridge Housing Tuesday.  They also approved a  homeless shelter in South LA and voted to support shelters in Westlake and Hollywood.  California Coastal Commission will address the MTA lot Wednesday.

See LA Times article.




PSH and Motel Conversion Ordinances Pass City Council

By David Graham-Caso, Chief of Staff to Councilman Mike Bonin

Councilmembers Bonin Huizar, Wesson, and Harris-Dawson celebrated Wednesday with the United Way and homeless advocates as the City Council adopted two ordinances that are crucial to creating more supportive housing across the City: the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Ordinance and the Motel Conversion Ordinance.

Combined, these ordinances will significantly reduce construction timelines and costs for supportive housing—helping stretch $1.2 billion in Measure HHH funds further and bring the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness into much-needed housing more quickly. A 60-unit building, for example, could save nearly $1 million thanks to the expedited processes that the PSH ordinance offers.

Both action items were heard in the Homelessness & Poverty Committee, Chaired by Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and adopted in the City’s Planning & Land Use Management Committee, Chaired by Councilmember José Huizar. The ordinances were first recommended as part of the City’s Comprehensive Homelessness Strategic Plan, and the ordinances were reviewed and debated in a series of public information sessions, Planning Commission meetings, Planning Committee meetings and Council meetings.

“Homelessness is a tremendous crisis that demands urgent action and rapid solutions,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin. “These ordinances remove significant roadblocks and will allow us to provide more quickly the housing we desperately need for our homeless neighbors. I am incredibly grateful for the work of my colleagues José Huizar and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, as well as the leadership of Mayor Garcetti and Council President Herb Wesson for helping deliver these important ordinances.”

“These two ordinances expedite our previous practices to provide new tools to speed up desperately needed housing to assist our homeless population,” said Councilmember Huizar. “The Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance will mean Measure HHH housing will get built quicker. The Motel Conversion Ordinance gives greater flexibility and incentives to motel and hotel owners to convert their operations into homeless housing. The bottom line is we have to accelerate our efforts to provide more long-term supportive housing and temporary, emergency housing. The need is great on both ends and we simply must do more to meet that demand. I applaud my City Council colleagues for their support.”

“We are a can-do council,” said Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. “We tackle big issues and are not afraid to fail. We have always believed actions speak louder than words. Homelessness may not be a problem we will solve overnight, but that will not stop us from working on solutions around-the-clock. Today’s vote is the next step towards bringing roofs and resources to our homeless brothers and sisters.”

“We know that homelessness will not be solved with one vote or one campaign,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “There are no silver bullets, but together we can get it done. You are seeing a consistent commitment to a comprehensive and strategic approach to solving homelessness. We started long-term to build supportive housing, and now, we are focused on the short-term.”

“Both ordinances are critical because they will more quickly advance the will of voters and get us one big step closer to building 10,000 units of supportive housing for our chronically homeless and disabled neighbors,” said Elise Buik, President & CEO, United Way of Greater L.A. “United Way’s ‘Everyone In’ campaign is working to activate the silent majority of people who know that supportive housing works and that we need to build it across the region.”

Supportive housing is the most effective solution for ending chronic homelessness or helping people with disabilities maintain stable housing. This is roughly one-third of the total people experiencing homelessness. Supportivehousing is 40% more cost effective than the cycle of treating the same people while they are living outside.

More about the Supportive Housing Ordinance can be found in the Department of City Planning’s information sheet at: https://planning.lacity.org/ordinances/docs/PermanentSupportiveHousing/FAQ.pdf.

Bonin Takes Giant Step to Get All LA Homeless Off Streets by December 2018

Councilman Mike Bonin took one giant step forward Tuesday with a motion – emergency response to homelessness he set forth for the City Council members to approve.  He wants emergency action taken to get all the homeless off the streets of Los Angeles by the end of this year.   Note this motion was coauthored with Marqueece Harris-Dawson, councilman of CD8.

Bonin said he wanted Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) to prepare within 14 days the framework for an Emergency Response to Homelessness Plan. He wants to know what steps and what funds would be required to get all the homeless off the streets of Los Angeles  by 31 December 2018.

He wants the Los Angeles Homeless Coordinator, with the assistance of the Chief Legislative Analyst and City Administrative Officer, and other departments and agencies as appropriate,  prepare within 14 days a comprehensive list of every public facility in the City of Los Angeles legally eligible to be used to provide shelter, temporary housing, or safe parking.

How many people and what percentage of Los Angeles’ homeless population are currently being provided shelter or housing, and what number and what percentage of our homeless population LAHSA aims to shelter or house by the end of the current fiscal year, and the next three years?  The report should include the number and types of shelter beds available during the past two fiscal years and during the current fiscal year.

What steps have been taken to replace barracks-style emergency shelters with low-barrier, 24-hour crisis housing and bridge housing beds that provide a genuine first step from the streets to long-term housing, as called for in Strategy 7A or the Comprehensive Homeless Strategy?  The report should include the number of beds, number of facilities, and percentage of the homeless population in Los Angeles being served.

This is a different tact than previously taken by the City. Before, it was you must put these people in permanent housing, you must build. The homeless populations is increasing.  It was stated recently that one billion had been expended but nothing has been built.

Yet another initiative for building, one City and many for County
Well, as this writer writes another initiative was made at the City Council and that was for each council district to provide 222 units built with HHH money by 1 July 2020 for a total of 3330 supporting housing units. If they are talking permanent supportive housing (PSH) that means the supply will be greater because usually only half the project is PSH with the rest being affordable housing.

The LA County board of supervisors passed a motion Tuesday to draft four ordinances to preserve and increase the number of affordable units.

Judge Carter in Orange County with innovative steps  forced the County to take action
Judge David O. Carter  of Orange County took the limelight with the Santa Ana encampments. Evictions were ordered for the homeless people and Carter initiated a temporary restraining order. He said movement had to be humane. Departments got together.  The results of the County and others has been quick and effective.

Since 14 February, 244 homeless have been moved to motels, according to Susan Price, the county homeless czar. Price said they were totally committed to those who wanted help. Yesterday, Judge Carter lifted the temporary restraining order.

The motel vouchers are for 30 days.  The county also gave those leaving the encampment with the vouchers, a $75 gift card for each of the four weeks to help with food and other necessities.

County officials also made 200 “recuperative” beds available for those with serious medical problems.

Ordinance to Define New Density Bonuses to Go Before City Council 13 December

The ordinance that will define the latest density bonuses for affordable housing will go before the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday, 13 December.  The proposed ordinance  will change LAMC Sections 12.24  and 14.00.






LA Homeless Numbers Increase; Homeless Youth Numbers Increase; What About the Money to Help

Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency released the homeless count for Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City last week. The individual community tally will come in June. The demographic breakdown will be available in July. Several stories have come out of this count release by the LA Times.

The overall breakdown for City and County numbers. See LA Times article.

Increase in youth homelessness. See LA Times article.

The story about the money allocated for the homeless. See LA Times article.

Safran Group Responds to Questions Regarding Thatcher Yard

Thatcher Yard

Thatcher Yard

Tyler Monroe, member of the Thomas Safran development team for the Thatcher Yard, answered Venice Update questions, such as what is the process, where are you with the process, and what was proposed for the site.

We do not yet have official written approval of our selection. The City staff recommended us to Council; two council committees already voted to approve. The City staff expects full City Council approval by mid-December. The staff report to Council recommends TSA “in writing” for the site.

Our Proposal. The goal of our proposal was to demonstrate flexibility and willingness to consider all options to make the best project for the site, the community and the City. Therefore, we proposed multiple “mixed income” options for this site. The options vary in density (from 84 to 152 units) and the mix of populations served (market rate, independent affordable and permanent supportive). We don’t yet know what the City staff prefers. We specifically state in our proposal that once selected, we will “work with the City and the local stakeholders to find the right tenant population.”

As a starting point, we proposed 60% market rate, 30% independent affordable and only up to 10% permanent supportive housing. I think that this may be quite different from what many people expect. We also expressed willingness to increase affordability if it was acceptable and City funds were provided (Proposition HHH or other) to make it work. The final project size and housing types will be determined by the community engagement process.

Next Steps. Once approved, we will do very thorough community outreach (including public meetings with ample opportunity for input) to determine the best solution on this site for all stakeholders and then; go through the city planning process for land use approvals plus, the Coastal Commission for a Coastal Development Permit. We are absolutely at the earliest stage. The final project program will be born out of a robust community input process.

We look forward to discussing further how we make this a wonderful project for all!

VCH Happy to be Designated for Venice Median

Venice Median Site

Venice Median Site

Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH) along with Hollywood Community Housing Corporation will be partnering to build housing on the Venice Median — that area between North and South Venice Blvd on Pacific and west of Dell.

“We don’t have more details at this point, because it is not yet approved,” according to Director Beck Dennison, “but once it is approved, “we will be doing community engagement to finalize the details of the project.”

The VCH e-newsletter read:  “With the passage of Proposition HHH and with overwhelming voter support, VCH looks forward to developing more permanent supportive housing in our Westside communities and working with our development partners to ensure 10,000 units are built throughout all neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles!

“As a next step in building housing and reducing homelessness, VCH is proud and excited to share that we, with our partners at Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and Eric Owen Moss Architects, have been recommended for approval to build affordable and permanent supportive housing on the city-owned parking lots at Venice and Pacific Boulevards. The recommendation has to be approved by City Council before it is finalized, and the recommendation is based on a preliminary project concept. If Council approves, we will immediately announce opportunities for community input, engagement, and feedback to inform and create the final project proposal. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with any questions – your support for VCH and this project is much appreciated!”



Can “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative” Stop Venice Median, Thatcher Yard?

Many Venetians have pointed to the “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative
as a stopper to the homeless projects planned for Venice. The initiative goes on the ballot in March.

The initiative is intended to stop “spot rezoning” for large projects that disrupt the “integrity” of the community, and in many cases, re-identify a community. The initiative calls for a two-year moratorium first.

Affordable Housing is Exception but not General Plan Change
One of the exceptions to the initiative is “affordable housing.” But the initiative also states that the project must be consistent with the General Plan.

Rezoning that is planned for the two Venice projects is not consistent with the General Plan, so a Plan change would be necessary. Of particular interest is Section 4.B which deals with General Plan changes and Section 4.E which deals with the affordable housing exemption.

The Venice Median is zoned “open space” and the plan is to rezone it R-3, which is a zone for apartments. The Thatcher Yard has been used as a “public utility,” since becoming part of Los Angeles. This might fit under industrial use as stated. But the intensity of going from flat land to apartment-type use is definitely addressed under 4.B.1,2,3.

Section 4 Temporary Moratorium Stops Council Approvals of Projects that Seek Spot Zoning and General Plan Amendments to Intensify Land Use

B. Notwithstanding any section of the Los Angeles Municipal Code and during the effective period of the moratorium imposed by the Act no project that seeks a General Plan amendment, a zone or height district change shall be approved by the City Council if such approval would result in:

1. changes of existing zoning to permit more intense land use (as defned by a zone change from a more restrictive to less restrictive zone according to the Los Angeles Municipal Code section 12.04A, or to a height district permitting the construction of a higher structure); or

2. an increase in floor area ratio, density or height; or

 3. a net loss of land zoned open space, agricultural or industrial.

E. Exceptions. The moratorium prohibitions specified in this Section 4 of the Act shall not apply:

1.  to any project in which 100% of the units are deed restricted Affordable Housing Units, that seeks a zone change or height district change only, but not a General Plan amendment.

An Affordable Housing Unit is defined as a unit that is affordable to households with a gross household income at or below Low Income levels (including Extremely Low Income and Very Low Income) as determined by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (or successor agency) for Los Angeles County on an annual basis, and that is rented or sold for no more than the percentage of gross household income required by Health and Safety Code section 50052.5.

Business Investment District (BID) Approved by City Council

Venice Business Investment District (BID) was re-approved by the City Council 9 November. It was previously approved by the City Council in August but because not all were allowed to speak, the complete process had to be redone before approval this week.

The properties within the map will be assessed yearly on a weighted value based on square footage and frontage.

The District’s total annual assessment for the first year is estimated to be $1,871,119.The assessment for five years is estimated to be $10,339,113, assuming a 5% yearly increase.

The BID management duties include, but are not limited to: Clean and Safe Programs, District Identity and Special Projects, and Administration and Management.

Proposed-BID 2

San Pedro to get Sudden Homeless Storage Facility? — All Sounds Familiar

Will San Pedro get a homeless storage facility as is supposedly proposed by Councilman Joe Buscaino? Similar footsteps are being uncovered in San Pedro as Venice is witnessing regarding Westminster Senior Center proposed for homeless storage. San Pedro’s Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council (CeSPNC) stakeholders did not know about their proposed storage facility.

It was revealed that the Los Angeles City Council’s Homeless Strategy Committee was acting to authorize $615,000 for the leasing and construction of storage facilities for the homeless in San Pedro, without any prior notice given to the Harbor Area neighborhood councils.

Sound familiar? Read the Citywatch story.