The Venice Neighborhood Council has created a Homeless Task Force to address the problem of homelessness in our town. A month ago, there was a town meeting for the public (including the homeless) to discuss concerns and suggestions – and tonight the task force is meeting to review and approve recommendations from their Housing Subcommittee. Meeting information can be found here. All VNC council meetings are open to the public. They tell me that this task force is moving along quickly, so going to early meetings is important if you want to get involved or keep up with what they are doing.
The Housing Subcommittee’s recommendations have been outlined on the VNC website forum. They do seem to want to concentrate homeless housing services in Venice, rather than utilize resources in our surrounding areas. There is concern that this will bring more homeless to the boardwalk and other popular Venice streets, adding to the problem rather than helping to improve it. If you’d like to let the Council know your thoughts on this issue, go to the VNC Homelessness and Poverty Forum and speak your mind!
Also, the Venice Paper recently reported on the increase in crime and violence at the beach at night. Last week a young homeless man and his dog were murdered on the beach, so the safety of “residents” and “stakeholders” is not the only concern that the task force needs to address.
It is definitely a complicated topic, and it will take a while to find what the best solution is for Venice.
Last Thanksgiving, while we were helping out at the Fruit Gallery’s “Feed The Beach” event, we noticed how empty the boardwalk was! Obviously, on Thanksgiving, it wouldn’t have the normal crowds, but what struck me was that there were almost no homeless people. Someone was thinking of them and providing a much-needed service (go Fruit Gallery!) – and it gave me a glimpse of what Venice could be if we helped the homeless in larger ways than just giving spare change or buying 1 person a sandwich.