September 20, 2019 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

City Council Approves Venice Homeless Shelter at MTA Lot

Proposal passes with 13-0 vote.

By Sam Catanzaro 

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to build a bridge housing shelter at the old Metro Transit Authority (MTA) lot on Main Street in Venice, a proposal that has been a center of debate among residents since plans were first announced earlier this year.

Venice has the highest concentration of homeless individuals on the Westside, with nearly 1,000 people experiencing homelessness and according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and 85 percent of these people are unsheltered.

“If we keep saying no to housing and to shelter, we allow the status quo to continue,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents Venice.

The 154-bed homeless shelter approved by City Council Tuesday, part of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s A Bridge Home program, is planned for the 3.15-acre lot that takes up an entire block between Pacific Avenue and Main Street south of Sunset Avenue. In this program, Mayor Garcetti asked every Councilmember to look at encampments in their district and to find locations for bridge housing.

MTA closed the lot in 2015 after receiving multiple offers from developers interested in the site. The property can be used for housing for the next three years, however, because there is no deal in place.

At City Hall on Tuesday, supporters of the project held signs reading “Beds Not Sidewalks” and urged the Council to approve the $5 million shelter.

“I’ve seen people die on our streets while waiting for approved housing,” said Will Hawkins, who formerly served as Chair for Venice Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee.

Opponents raised issue with the shelter’s location, worrying that the proposed site will disrupt the mostly residential neighborhood. In addition, there has been concern raised about the housing being within a 1,000-foot radius of Westminster Elementary School.

Emails and documents released by Councilmember Bonin’s office last week after a public records request demonstrate how far lawmakers have gone to garner public support for homeless shelters. According to the documents, Bonin’s office paid non-profit Invisible People $10,000 to produce a series of videos profiling homeless individuals in Venice.

“The group opposing bridge housing is trying to characterize all homeless people in Venice as dangerous criminals from elsewhere,” wrote Bonin’s Deputy Chief of Staff, David Graham-Caso, in an email to Invisible People director Mark Horvath. “Your videos can help answer that unfair characterization, and we would like as many videos as possible.”

The Council vote on Tuesday exempts the Venice shelter from a full California Environmental Air Quality Act review, which will expedite the construction process, although the project still needs approval from the California Coastal Commission.

Related Posts

Bridge Housing Operators to Hold Weekly Community Meetings

September 19, 2019

September 19, 2019

Safe Place for Youth (SPY) and PATH “Coffee With the Community” meetings By Sam Catanzaro Safe Place for Youth (SPY)...

Yo! Broker: If You Went to an Open House and Saw a Framed KKK Application on the Wall, What Would You Do?

September 19, 2019

September 19, 2019

Dear Yo! Broker, I recently read where a black guy went to an open house and saw a KKK application...

As Trump Visits LA, White House Suggests Increased Law Enforcement to Combat Homelessness

September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

Left: President Trump exits Marine One. Right: an LAPD officer speaks with two individuals experiencing homelessness. Photos: Air Force/Los Angeles Police Department (Twitter).

Burglar Leads Police on Chase from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier, How Potential Homeless Ban Impacts Venice: Yo! Venice This Week September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

Yo! Venice This Week September 16, 2019 – all your local news and happenings in under 5 minutes.* Burglar leads...

Venice Bar Stabbing Suspects At-large

September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

Stabbing occurs on Speedway Avenue Sunday evening By Sam Catanzaro Two suspects remain at large following a bar stabbing in...

Rooftop cocktails for a good cause? Take Neon-electric-Bike Photos in Venice: Yo! Venice TGIF Show September 13

September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019

Yo! Venice TGIF Show September 13 – all your fun local events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Learn how...

Jason Kolowski Marries Henna Sherzai in Oregon Enchanted Forest Wedding Celebration

September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019

Venice Locals, Jason Kolowski and Henna Sherzai married in Mckenzie Bridge, Oregon on Saturday, August 31st, 2019,  surrounded by their...

Pacific Police Division Wins Blood Drive

September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019

Venice PD show their support for vital service  By Chad Winthrop The LAPD Pacific Division has won a blood drive...

Venice Art Scene: Ryan Linke and Karen Amy Finkel Fishof

September 12, 2019

September 12, 2019

Inspiration, Born Out of Wonder By Henry K. Long Ryan Linke was born and raised in Venice, CA. He was...

Police Chase Burglar from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier

September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019

Suspect wades through water as police pursue on-foot By Sam Catanzaro A burglary suspect led police on a lengthy on-foot...

Coastal Cleanup Day Returns to Venice

September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019

Heal the Bay's Coastal Cleanup Day returns September 21. Photo: Heal the Bay.

Bringing Homeless into Policymaking Process? Yo! Venice This Week September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019

Yo! Venice This Week September 9, 2019 – all your local news in under 5 minutes!* Bringing homeless, formally homeless...

Yo! Venice TGIF Show September 6

September 7, 2019

September 7, 2019

Yo! Venice TGIF Show September 6 – all your local events, happenings and in under 5 minutes!* Vigil for Westside...

Bagel Eating Driver Was Using Autopilot When Tesla Crashed into Firetruck on 405

September 6, 2019

September 6, 2019

National Transportation Safety Board releases on about 2018 crash By Sam Catanzaro Shortcomings in Tesla’s autopilot system were partly responsible for...

Bringing Homeless and Previously Homeless into the Policymaking Process?

September 5, 2019

September 5, 2019

Bonin proposes commission composed entirely of people who are or have been homeless By Sam Catanzaro A week after a...