October 28, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Homeless Shelter Opens

154-bed bridge housing center operational

By Sam Catanzaro

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mike Bonin Tuesday officially opened the Pacific Sunset A Bridge Home facility in Venice, which will provide 100 beds for homeless adults and 54 beds for transitional age youth.

“The homeless and housing crisis is a citywide challenge that requires citywide solutions,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Today’s opening is a reminder that people across Los Angeles are saying ‘yes’ to delivering the housing, healing, and hope our unhoused neighbors need and deserve.”

“A roof and a bed will replace a tent and a sidewalk for many of our unhoused neighbors who have been sleeping in encampments in Venice. This is a big and important step in our long march to confront our homelessness crisis,” added Councilmember Bonin.

Local lawmakers and officials at the ribbon-cutting of a homeless shelter in Venice, including Councilmember Mike Bonin and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo: Councilmember Mike Bonin Facebook.

The Pacific Sunset site is the tenth A Bridge Home facility to open, bringing the total number of beds made available by the program to 673.

According to Councilmember Mike Bonin, the city remains on-track to stand up a total of 26 A Bridge Home sites, filled with about 2,000 beds, by July 1. This site features 100 beds for single adults — 66 men and 34 women — and 54 beds for transitional age youth — 36 men and 18 women. Pacific Sunset is the first A Bridge Home site to be partially dedicated to serving young people experiencing homelessness.

“This is a proud day for the Venice community. We’ve shown the city and the world how everyday citizens can step up and champion innovative and empathetic solutions that reduce homelessness and saves lives,” added Will Hawkins, a Venetian who helped champion Pacific Sunset when it was considered by the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee and who now leads the non-profit organization Chamber of Hope.

Photo: Sam Catanzaro

While residents are not required to be sober, no drugs or alcohol will be allowed on site.

In addition, there will be 24/7 security and on-site services including case management, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and housing placement.

According to the City Administrative Officer of Los Angeles, the shelter’s capital cost is $8.5 million, $4.1 million of which came out of city funds. The shelter’s operations, to the tune of $5.6 million, will be funded by the state’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP).

PATH will be the lead operator of the site and will work with the Venice-based SPY, which will also provide services at the temporary facility, which will provide 100 beds for adults and 54 beds for youth.

“Bridge housing is an important first step in the process of moving our most vulnerable into permanent supportive housing. We are grateful for the partnership of Safe Place for Youth, local organizations and the support of Councilmember Bonin and Venice community members for helping us move people living on the streets into a safe home,” said Jennifer Hark-Dietz, Executive Director of PATH.

Volunteers helping set up the bridge housing center in Venice. Photo: Councilmember Mike Bonin.

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

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.

The Venice Stakeholders Association is in the midst of a legal battle against the City of Los Angeles over the project, saying the environmental review was unjustly fast-tracked and did not take into account an increase in noise levels from individuals in the shelter or its air conditioning units.

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