web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

How is El Pueblo Doing? Seven People Placed; Four Months

El Pueblo the first Bridge Home for Los Angels has found homes for seven people in four months.  El Pueblo, now called El Puente is the poster child for what is proposed for the 15 council districts.  Venice is the only place planned.

This reporter tried to get information from the Mayor’s office , even enlisted the help of Councilman Bonin’s office, regarding the El Pueblo.  Nothing.  It was decided that if I wanted info I would have to go down and try to enlist the CES teams into helping me.  The Mayor at one meeting said El Pueblo was great, that they had placed “x” number of people and then the LA Times said the figure was incorrect.  LA Times has not had an article since regarding the Bridge.

Neighborhoods are reluctant to have a Bridge in their neighborhood.  If it is so great, why hide the fact.  This is the first article written.  Shawn Stern, who lives across the street from the MTA site where a Bridge is proposed found this article.  Hopefully, there will be more.  Hopefully, this reporter will be able to obtain information. Here is the LA’s Downtown News article.

The Venice Stakeholders Association has a law suit pending to request an Environmental Impact Report.

Shawn Stern’s comments about the  Bridge Project at the MTA Site

Here’s an article from L.A. Downtown News about the first “bridge housing” and how it has fared so far. I live directly across the street from the MTA yard. I went to the meeting that Garcetti and Bonin had several months ago at Westminster school. Garcetti gave some details on the thought process for “temporary” part of this plan would work and some of it seemed reasonable. The council member kept trying to repeat specific homeless stories to evoke sympathy that did nothing to explain to residents why they should support plans that he has not discussed with the residents despite his claims to the contrary. I have never been contacted by the city regarding the MTA plan.

What I found interesting is that Garcetti admitted that the city does not have housing for the vast majority of homeless and that it will take years to build it, but went on to describe how the “bridge housing” model was for people to stay between 3-6 months in an effort to get them in to services and then transition to permanent housing. The plan is 150 people at the MTA lot could mean anywhere between 300-600 people a year would “transition” if it works and theoretically that could mean 900-1800 people would be transitioned over the 3 years they propose to use the lot for their plans.  However he ignored his first point about the city not having housing for them to actually transition and without that part of the plan in place how can it work? I realize it’s only been four months that the downtown “bridge housing” has been running, but as the article points out, this is hardly a great start.

Plans are to have people reside in the trailers for three to six months and work with case managers to transition to a more permanent home. Yet four months in, only seven people had been matched with long-term housing. “
 
That’s a “success” rate of less than 17% so far. What was stated at the meeting with the Mayor and Councilman was that there will be no requirement that anyone accepted into such temporary “bridge housing” be from the encampments in the community, despite the argument made by the plans backers that “the homeless should be housed in the neighborhoods where they are living” because the assumption is that they are from these neighborhoods. This is not true for many homeless people in many neighborhoods including Venice, although it’s not information available in the homeless counts because it’s not a question asked by those gathering information. I think everyone can agree that finding a solution to the lack of affordable housing in this city/county is of the utmost importance. And helping those people living in the streets THAT WANT HELP should be a priority. 
 
What I have not heard, in any of the meetings and literature and plans, is the problem the advocates and politicians don’t  seem to want to acknowledge, what is the plan for those living in the streets with chronic mental illness, many of whom who self medicate. According to the LAHSA 2018 counts, at least 1/4 to 1/3 of the “estimated” homeless who self report have serious mental illness. The mentally ill living on the street create the largest danger to themselves and the community and unfortunately advocates continue to ask the public to view ALL homeless people as the same. Unfortunately, they are not and when residents have to worry about confrontation and physical altercations with people living in the street and the advocates and politicians don’t want to address this problem, you will continue to have fights by residents against what they see as vague, simplistic, broad plans that make no logical sense in  both short term and long term solutions to the very specific homeless issues in their neighborhoods. 

Garcetti Promotes his “Bridge Home” Homeless Initiative

By Darryl DuFay

In this Op Ed piece,  LA Mayor Eric Garcetti comments on his first “Bridge Home” temporary transitional homeless project located in downtown LA near Olvera St.

First referred to as “El Pueblo” now called “El Puente” or “The Bridge.”  Other articles have not been so enthusiastic about this and other proposed “Bridge Home” projects. The project for Venice at the Metro lot comes to mind.   LA Times article.

Construction costs are a major concern.  The Mayor’s original proposal was for 1,500 beds divide among the 15 Council Districts or 100 beds per District at a cost of $13,000 per bed.  El Puente cost $2.4M or $53,000 per bed for 45 homeless.  The “underfunded” original money of $20M was supplemented by another $10M from the City Council. Forty five million dollars more have been requested from the State.  This still will not be enough.

Original year to year costs per Council District were “estimated” at $1.3M. There are also concerns about providing meals and services.  It has been reported that the immediate ”El Puente” surrounding encampments that were to be removed have just moved themselves north.

LA Times Reports on El Pueblo Surrounding Enforcement of Encampments

LA Times reports on the sanitation and enforcement surrounding the El Pueblo, which is the City’s first Bridge Housing. El Pueblo opened in September.

Venetians have asked: Will there be enforcement? Will the encampments be dissolved? Will new homeless replace those who left? How far can enforcement go?

LA Times article.

First Bridge Home — El Pueblo — to Open Monday

5
(All photos are courtesy of the Office of the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.)
Nestled between the freeway and on ramps, five trailers are set to provide Los Angeles with its first “Bridge Home” project. Three trailers will be for residents, one for services, and one for a combination laundry, restroom, and shower facility.

Los Angeles’s first “Bridge Home” will officially open Monday, 10 September, and provide a home for 45 homeless individuals until they secure permanent housing. Dignitaries gathered this week to showcase El Pueblo as the first of its kind.

Located near the El Pueblo Historical Monument, the housing located at 711 N. Alameda St. is the first of a series of projects planned for construction across Los Angeles to bring homeless people indoors. To date, dozens of sites across the city are being explored by the City Council.

beds

Bathroom, shower, laundry room.

Bathroom, shower, laundry room.

Bridge Home sites are intended to offer immediate beds, showers, mental health services, restrooms, storage facilities, and pet accommodations until permanent housing can be obtained. Supportive services will be part of the package at each site.

“We are here to help people in desperate need get themselves on a bridge that goes in one direction — toward housing and healing,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Angelenos have freed up more resources than ever before to help our homeless neighbors recover from the trauma and poverty that forces them onto the streets. Today, we have one message for the men and women who will soon move into this facility: Welcome home.”

Workers prepare tables and chairs for the common area under the awning where people will eat and gather.

Workers prepare tables and chairs for the common area under the awning where people will eat and gather.

This site will be occupied by people from existing, high-density encampments in the immediate surrounding area. New residents of the site were identified through unprecedented outreach efforts by specialized teams who walked the streets of the El Pueblo neighborhood every day for the previous three months in order to identify homeless Angelenos already living in the community, and prepare them to move indoors.

“In Council District 14, we have and will continue to work with our partners on creative solutions to end the despair of homelessness,” said Councilmember Jose Huizar, co-author of Measure HHH, and a leading voice on the City Council in addressing homelessness. “Given that we are blocks from Skid Row, the largest homeless encampment in the nation, it is fitting that the City’s first Bridge Home site be located in Downtown. Let hopelessness end here for these residents, and let’s open our City’s collective arms and share that hope with the thousands more who will follow.”

The site at El Pueblo is run by The People Concern, a social services agency that has operated in and around the Downtown LA area for more than 50 years. The facility is furnished with on-site mental healthcare, substance abuse support, connections to permanent housing, career services, and 24/7 security, and staffed by case managers from The People Concern at all times. It will stand for three years — enough time for the City to build permanent housing.

“A Bridge Home is the community working together to bring services to those who need it most and empower individuals to rebuild their lives,” said John Maceri, CEO of The People Concern.

After the new bridge housing opens its doors and the first 45 residents move in, City Sanitation teams will work to restore spaces previously occupied by encampments into clean and accessible public passageways.

The site was designed pro bono by M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, and includes a community garden, a pet relief area, offices for meetings with case managers, and an outdoor community space where meals will be served three times a day.

“As architects it was important for us, as part of the Downtown community, to step up and help make this crucial project become a reality,” said Rob Jernigan, Co-Regional Managing Principal at Gensler. “We’re all affected by homelessness and as Angelenos we are proud to play a small role in helping our fellow citizens battling this issue.”

In total, the Mayor’s budget includes more than $450 million in supportive housing, bridge housing, services, and facilities to help homeless Angelenos find their way under a roof and off the streets. That represents a 147% increase over last year.

The Mayor also fought for — and won — funding from the State’s budget surplus to help cities across California find, build, and expand housing for their homeless populations. Thanks to that effort, Los Angeles County alone will receive $166 million from the State to bring our unhoused neighbors indoors.

In April, Mayor Garcetti and the City Council declared an emergency shelter crisis and took advantage of a new State law that enables cities to construct bridge housing — faster than ever before — on any land owned or leased by the City.

In May, Mayor Garcetti signed an Executive Directive requiring City departments to fast-track temporary shelter projects from application to construction, allowing those that meet legal and environmental standards to open their doors in as little as 32 weeks. The City will guide these projects from start to finish.

With Mayor Garcetti’s support, Councilmember Huizar is pushing forward with a plan to identify other emergency locations in Downtown LA to house approximately 2,000 unsheltered Skid Row residents in City-owned buildings or available private properties — such as the old Children’s Museum located at the Civic Center near City Hall, and a private lot on Paloma Street, in partnership with LA County.