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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Will Hawkins Resigns from VNC, Homeless Committee

William Hawkins has resigned from the Venice Neighborhood Council Board. It will be announced at the 16 October meeting. Will was chair of the Homeless Committee.

Bridge Housing Measure Tabled at August VNC Meet


By Angela McGregor

Tuesday night’s meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Board drew a large and vocal crowd, most of whom were there to debate the merits of a Bridge Housing development in Venice.

The motion on the agenda, titled “VNC Support for Concept of Bridge Housing in Venice with a Community Benefits Agreement”, contained a “President’s Note” that the motion was “not about the MTA Bus Yard”, despite recent mailers and phone calls from Councilman Bonin’s office specifically referring to the use of the Bus Yard for Bridge Housing.

The meeting opened with the usual motion to approve the meeting’s agenda, at which point Board member John Reed immediately proposed to amend the agenda to table the Bridge Housing Item to a future meeting. He explained that this was motivated by an email from Councilman Mike Bonin’s office that the Board had just received announcing that the Mayor’s office was initiating a feasibility study to determine whether or not the MTA Bus Yard was suitable for such a project.

In light of the promise of forthcoming clarification of some of the most contentious issues with the project, including whether or not the bus yard is environmentally suited for it — Reed contended that a vote on Bridge Housing would be premature.

VNC Homeless Committee Members Hollie Stenson and Sunny Bak — who both voted in favor of the motion at the July VNC Homeless Committee meeting — each stated that they felt more vetting of the project was necessary prior to a vote in order to gain the public’s trust. VNC Homeless Committee Chairman Will Hawkins argued vigorously in favor of leaving the item on the agenda, since it was merely a referendum on whether or not the concept of Bridge Housing would be appropriate for Venice and would ultimately result in the reduction of homeless encampments.

Any future discussion of the merits of a specific site for the project would be taken up by the Land Use & Planning Committee (LUPC), at which point the results of the City’s feasibility study could be taken into account. The motion to table the Bridge Housing motion to a future meeting of the VNC Board narrowly passed, 8-7, with Board President Ira Koslow abstaining.

Koslow encouraged the many Venetians who’d shown up to make their opinions known on the now-tabled motion to stay and state their opinions in general comments. Many did, and comments were relatively equally divided between those in favor and those opposed.

Many in favor indicated that “something has to be done” to address the crisis, while many of those opposed expressed concerns that the project would be located too close to residences.

Tanaz Golshan, a representative from Mayor Garcetti’s office, spoke for several minutes regarding Bridge Housing, describing it as “not the typical shelter” and “a whole new concept” — “interim” housing rather than shelter beds, with residents — all of whom would be from local encampments — required to accept services in order to stay. The facility would also feature 24/7 security and result in increased clean up and enforcement of laws in Venice’s homeless encampments.

The other contentious item on the Board’s agenda — the construction of a 77 unit, mixed use building at 2454 Lincoln Blvd. (the current site of the Lincoln Millennium Car Wash) — was also shelved. The motion on the agenda recommended denial of the project due to, among other things, a flawed traffic study, disregard for community concerns regarding traffic and alley access, and the lack of a shade study. According to LUPC Chair Matt Royce, the applicant had decided not to attend the Board meeting.

In other VNC Board-related news, Matt Shaw has been removed from the Board due to too many absences, and so his Community Officer seat is now vacant and Venice Stakeholders are encouraged to apply.

Jones Settlement Talley, Citywide Homeless Reunification Office Featured at Homeless Committee

Venetians who attended the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Homeless Committee meeting Monday night at the Venice Public Library.

By Angela McGregor

The Monday evening meeting of the VNC’s Homeless Committee opened with a presentation by Taylor Bazley from Mike Bonin’s office on Mayor Garcetti’s Homeless Shelter Initiative, dubbed “A Bridge Home”.

This proposal would incentivize neighborhoods to create emergency shelters on vacant city parcels. These 24/7, year-round shelters would facilitate the homeless in getting off the streets by offering them services and entering them into the Coordinated Entry System (CES). The incentive would be extra sanitation dollars in an amount Bazley stated could be “transformative”. A future meeting will be held in order to gather input as to possible locations for such a program in Venice.

Beginning of Bazley’s talk was not recorded. New camera.

The first motion of the evening was a statement of support for a council file titled “Family Reunification through Service Providers”, which would create a citywide program based on Venice’s pilot program, which last year reunited 30 homeless individuals with supportive family members. This motion passed, 8-0, and will move onto the VNC Board for final approval.

The second motion was a letter in support of the West LA Veteran’s Administration Master Plan to provide housing for homeless vets on their campus. The letter includes the following: “The West L.A. campus of the Veterans’ Association was donated specially to serve the veterans who are now living on the street…If all 5,000 beds that the facility was designed to hold were to be made available we would be able to house and care for almost every homeless veteran on the streets of Los Angeles County. It is imperative that we immediately fund and execute this reclamation project and serve each and every veteran that seeks help and assistance.” This measure also passed unanimously.

The final three motions on the agenda all began with the phrase, “Whereas the City of Los Angeles has been handcuffed by the terms of the Jones Settlement to enforce laws that provide safe, clean and clear sidewalks for residents, businesses, and visitors.”

Committee Chairman Will Hawkins explained to the attendees that, in 2005, the City came to an agreement — titled the Jones Settlement — with attorney Carol Sobel which mandated that the City not enforce LAMC 41.18(d) (no sleeping, sitting or camping on sidewalks) between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am until the City had created 1250 units of Permanent Supportive Housing, at least half of which were to be in the greater downtown area. (the full settlement can be viewed here: http://wetnostril.homestead.com/JonesSettlement.html).

In the intervening 13 years, the City has not provided an update on how many units have been constructed or if the terms of the Settlement have been met. In addition, the lack of enforcement has manifested, in some parts of Venice, as a lack of law enforcement generally. Motion #3 on the agenda requested “updated stats and figures that show whether or not the terms of the Jones Settlement have been satisfied”. A similar motion, passed last year, was ignored by the City, but as Hawkins put it, the City needs to show “either their shameful lack of progress on this issue, or their equally shameless lack of transparency”. The motion passed, 7-1.

Motion #4 — to create a safe camping program in Venice — met with more resistance from both attendees and the Committee itself. The proposal was to allow individuals who had registered with the CES to specify and reserved spots on the sidewalk between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am, with the approval of 2/3 of homeowners on the block. Discussion centered around the liability this would create (the original language of the motion was changed to replace “neighbors” with “homeowners”, since property owners would ultimately be liability for any damages this might create), as well as the appearance of condoning sidewalk camping of any kind, which creates a mobility hazard, especially among the disabled. After much discussion, the Committee decided to table this motion until their next meeting.

Motion #5 — which would create a program whereby homeowners would allow homeless individuals to put a tent on their property — and Motion #6, which would create a program to financially subsidize homeowners who wish to allow homeless individuals to park on their properties and make use of their bathrooms — were both tabled for the next meeting due to a lack of time.

Motions 4,5, and 6 will all be considered at the next meeting.

Homeless Committee Meets Tuesday

The Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee will meet Tuesday (1 May), 6 pm at the Venice Public Library, 501 Venice Blvd. Agenda follows:

1. 6:00 pm – Approve Agenda as presented or amended
2. 6:00pm – Approve Minutes of last meeting as presented or amended
3. 6:01 pm — PUBLIC COMMENT – 5 minutes on non-agendized items related to Homeless Committee only
4. 6:05pm – Chairman’s Report
Presentation by Taylor Bazley on Mayor Garcetti’s Homeless Shelter Initiative.
– See attached for text
– See attached for text.
– See attached for text.
12.Old Business Presentation by Stephen Butler St Joseph Center regarding treatment and services for homeless with mental illness.
13. 8:00pm — ADJOURN

Don’t Call Venetians NIMBYs; Stand Up To Honor These

Yah, don’t call Venetians NIMBYs. Look what these people have stepped up to do for their homeless on the street, not just homeless in Venice, but wherever their plan might fit.  And a salute to those who have contributed money, items on request,  and time to help.

While the City fixates on new housing for the homeless and those who might become homeless, and yet,  lacks the numbers, these people have lighted the path or paths..  These people have shown that there is more than one way to house the homeless.  Do believe Councilman Mike Bonin might find his 222 here.

  • Regina Weller of the LAPD Homeless Task Force found 98 permanent dwellings for homeless families last year.  Her husband Steve, who was the start and spark for the LAPD Homeless Task Force, died during the year and before he died,  she took a couple months off to be with him.
  • William Hawkins, chair of the Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee and Home for the Holidays, sent 30 people, mostly kids on the street,  home to their families for the Holidays last year.
  • St. Joseph Center, headed by Stephen Butler, found places for 17 individuals last year.
  • Heidi Roberts and her husband John Betz converted a new, four-unit apartment house to a group home for 28 homeless people in Los Angeles.  They are in escrow for another.
  • William Hawkins negotiated placement of 200 motor homes on the Veterans Administration grounds in West Los Angeles for men and women who served in the armed forces .   Negotiations are complete except for  approval of Veterans Administration in Washington DC.
  • Those who have contributed money, property, time.  You know who you are.



No Restrooms at 671 Rose; Councilman Working with VNC Homeless Committee

“No restrooms are being proposed for 671 Rose,” was Chief of Staff David Graham-Caso’s answer to placement of restrooms at 671 Rose.

Graham-Caso went on to state that “Adding restrooms to Venice — so tourists and people living on the street have alternatives to using alleys and doorsteps as restrooms — has been something Councilmember Bonin has been discussing since he first offered his Venice Homelessness Solutions plan in 2015.

“The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Homelessness Committee passed a resolution in support of opening additional restrooms, and Councilmember Bonin has been working with the VNC and neighbors in Venice to explore both opening existing beach restrooms 24/7, as well as adding mobile restrooms to the neighborhood.”

Kip Pardue, who is a rotating member of the VNC Homeless Committee, published a document early Tuesday morning that contained wording from homeless activist David Busch stating that there would be portable restrooms installed at 671 Rose. In the letter Busch thanked Councilman Mike Bonin.

To add to the mystery, the Board of Recreation and Parks cancelled their monthly meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Their agenda stated they were to vote on the opening of the cluster of restrooms on the beach at Horizon.

The problem with opening beach restrooms is that there is a beach curfew from midnight to 5 am that covers the east side of the boardwalk to the ocean.

VNC to Discuss Placement of Public Bathrooms

Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) will meet Tuesday at 7 pm at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd, to discuss placement of public restrooms for the homeless.

December 2017 Agenda

Homeless Committee to Discuss Mobile Health Kiosks

Homeless Committee of Venice Neighborhood Council will discuss having mobile kiosks to dispense vaccinations and provide medical care for homeless on a weekly basis at their next meeting Monday (25 September) at 6:30 pm at the Venice Library, 501 Venice Blvd.

Jason Robinson to Address Homeless Committee Monday


Jason Robison, program director of SHARE, will speak at the Monday night meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Committee (VNC) Homeless Committee, 6:30 pm, Venice Public Library, 501 Venice Blvd.


Paul Goes Home By William Hawkins

Note: William Hawkins in chairman of the Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee.  Venice Update will be happy to print every “Goes Home” story.  Keep them coming.

By William Hawkins

I just wanted to share another success story we had this week reuniting another person living on the streets of Venice with their family.

Paul is 27 years old and originally from a small Iowa farm town. He came to Venice after a breakdown and lived on the streets of Venice since last summer. He suffers from schizophrenia and hadn’t taken his medication for over eight months. His family in Iowa had read about our “home for the holidays” reunification program in the news back in December and reached out to me through the VNC website to help them find their son.

We’ve spent the last six months on a bit of a roller coaster working with Paul and trying to gain his trust. There were a lot of hit and misses…But all that hard work paid off with much help and support from Erin McGinness and Stephen Butler at St Joseph Center. Paul’s mother arrived in town yesterday and they are now both on their way home. Paul will get back on his meds and live on his grandfathers farm to help get things sorted out for his next chapter.

I hear people in Venice often say that the VNC doesn’t make a difference and only works in their own self interests. The ongoing work of this committee has now helped reunite 12 souls with their families since December. Not only are we helping change the trajectory of those peoples’ life journeys, but we are also saving the City millions of dollars in homeless services as well as shelter and housing in the process.

Thanks to all those who helped make a difference here and I wish you all a wonderful holiday weekend.