May 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Shorts: A Tree Now Grows on Flower

Transformation of Former Homeless Encampment Continues

By Nick Antonicello

For what was just 8 months ago a dangerous encampment with dozens of individuals living in makeshift structures, abusing drugs and destroying the quality of life for area residents, the renaissance of Flower here in Venice continues.

New planters were installed as well as trees to beautify this section of Flower closest to Lincoln where several RV’s are still parked and hopefully will be moved to finish the job of restoring dignity back to this struggling section of Venice.

I also witnessed the planting of several trees that will preclude areas that were formerly reserved for tents and other structures that plagued this neighborhood for the better part of a decade.

But as you can see, the trees have brought a more residential and positive urban appeal to a street that has seen a real transformation in a matter of months.

While the residents and neighborhood remain cautious, the planters and new trees bring hope that things can improve and street encampments can be successfully removed.

For the work today ironically comes the news that homelessness in the City of Los Angeles increased 10% year over year with LAHSA’s new homeless count now public.

LA Mayor Karen Bass who took office last December declared a state of emergency on the question of homelessness has received for the most part positive grades from residents along with new Councilwoman Traci Park who represents Venice and CFD-11.

According to Park’s office roughly 200 people have been removed from the streets in Venice alone, and that arteries such as Hampton, Third and Flower have all but eliminated the homeless encampments that dominated these streets for years.

While there is much work still to do, the improvements at Flower may finally signal a turn to finally get in front of this citywide epidemic of street encampments, with an concentration here in Venice and Skid Row in downtown LA.

Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident who covers the issue of street encampments in Venice. Have a take or a tip on the issue of homelessness? Contact Antonicello via e-mail at nantoni@mindspring.com

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