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Westside’s Only Winter Homeless Shelter Opens in Venice

LAHSA’s Winter Shelter Program includes 30 beds at Venice’s Oakwood Recreation Center

By Sam Catanzaro

A winter homeless shelter is up and running in Venice, the only such shelter on the Westside. 

On January 26, the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) opened Oakwood Recreation Center as part of the agency’s Winter Shelter Program. The program, held annually to protect the homeless population during colder months, includes shelters located across the County. This year, due to COVID-19, LAHSA says it is operating winter shelters 24 hours a day. 

The Oakwood shelter, located at 767 California Avenue in Venice, has 30 co-ed beds and is expected to stay open until March 31. Home at Last, a Los Angeles-based homeless services provider, is operating the shelter. Oakwood Recreation Center was previously included in an emergency shelter program last spring at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic but never came operational. Officials also did not activate an emergency shelter at the Pacific Palisades Recreation Center. 

Countywide 16 winter shelters are currently open. The Oakwood Recreation Center location is the only winter shelter on the Westside. Other regions of the county all have at least two winter shelters, except the San Fernando Valley which has one. South Los Angeles has six winter shelters while Metro Los Angeles has four, including one somewhat near the Westside at Pan Pacific Park. In addition, there are six winter shelters that are activated during cold and rainy weather. Three of these are in South LA, and one each in San Gabriel, Metro LA and South Bay Harbor. There are no weather activated shelters on the Westisde. 

Yo! Venice has reached out to LAHSA asking if there are plans to activate the Palisades Recreation Center Shelter or any other shelter on the Westside, and if not, why. The agency could not immediately be reached. 

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