Construction on Venice Bus Yard Homeless Shelter Could Begin This Week

The MTA bus yard where construction of a 154-bed homeless shelter is set to begin in the coming week. Photo: Sam Catanzaro.

LA City Council approves lease on District 11 bridge housing center

By Sam Catanzaro

On Tuesday, June 25 Los Angeles City Council gave final approval on a lease at the old Metro bus yard in Venice allowing construction to begin on a 154-bed bridge housing center.

According to Councilmember Mike Bonin, construction is set to begin July 1 but may begin this week.

The $7.6 million, 154-bed homeless shelter, part of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s A Bridge Home program, will be located on 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.

People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and Safe Place for Youth (SPY) will manage and operate the bridge housing facility.

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.

A rendering of the project Photo: Mike Bonin.

The project has not been without controversy. Opponents have raised issue with the shelter’s location, worrying that the 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.

Last month, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied an injunction filed by the Venice Stakeholders Association that would have halted construction the homeless shelter, allowing the City of Los Angeles to proceed with the construction of the 154-bed homeless shelter.

The judge noted that objections expressed by neighbors, namely that the shelter would disrupt a residential neighborhood, were understandable, but agreed with the city’s claim that not building the shelter would provide greater harm to residents now living on sidewalks.

$8 million has been approved for the project. $2.8 million coming from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Program Fund, $1.3 million from the LA Crisis and Bridge Housing Fund, $815,011 from the LA Homeless Emergency Aid program Grant Fund and $3 million in grant funds from the California Community Foundation. The remaining balance of the $8 million authorized for this project is needed for furniture, fixture and other equipment costs, according to the LA City Council Municipal Facilities Committee.