The Venice Neighborhood Council Board unanimously accepted an interim report from its Committee on Homelessness and Vehicular Living recommending support of the St. Joseph Center in its efforts to create a service registry of the homeless population of Venice. The program, modeled after successful projects in Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles, would assess the needs of the chronically homeless and find permanent supportive housing for the 40 individuals at greatest risk. The VNC Board will request that the Los Angeles City Housing Authority provide additional “Section 8” vouchers to St. Joseph’s in support of this new program.
Section 8 vouchers assist low income renters with subsidies that pay their monthly housing costs. The Board will also request that the “Fair Market Rent Level” be raised so that the subsidies fairly compensate land-lords for the housing they provide. The Committee was praised for its ability to come together in making their report and for the work they have performed. A final Committee report focusing on recommendations regarding vehicular living, supportive services and housing for the homeless is expected at the Board’s May meeting.
The report was presented at the VNC Board Meeting on March 17th. In other action, the VNC Board voted to reject the placement of advertisement bearing “street furniture” in Venice. Seven years ago a private company received a contract from the City of Los Angeles to place advertising on bus shelters, sidewalk information kiosks, automated toilets and other eye-level emplacements installed by the company at locations it specified in three council districts. In comments describing the advertising as a contract for “blight” and destructive of the character of Venice, the Neighborhood Council refused to participate in the program and called on City Councilman Rosendahl oppose any further installations in Venice.
The Council also postponed consideration of a motion to alter its by-laws to comply with the City of Los Angeles’ new definition of a stakeholder. The City’s new definition allows anyone who “declares a stake in the neighborhood” and can confirm that stake on some “factual basis” to vote in Neighborhood Council elections and run for Neighborhood Council Office. Board members were concerned that people without ties to the community could exert an undue influence because the new definition of stakeholder is so broad while the “factual basis” rules for confirming stakeholder status have not yet been established. A special meeting of the VNC’s Rules and Elections Committee will deal with the matter, considering alternatives ranging from by-laws limiting the number of “factual-basis-stakeholder” Board seats to outright rejection of the new stakeholder definition.