By Jack Simon
Observer Staff Writer 

L.A. Councilman to Offer Housing Options to Venice Beach Homeless

St. Joseph Center teams will reach out to 200 people who live in encampments on the Boardwalk starting June 28

 

The Venice boardwalk is home to 300 homeless people depending on the day. Residents and local merchants are less than pleased by this development.

People living in homeless encampments on the Venice Beach boardwalk will be offered permanent housing and shelter starting next week, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin has announced.

Beginning Monday, June 28, Bonin said, "we are launching the next phase of an ambitious and unprecedented program that will humanely address the homelessness crisis at Venice Beach, respond to the urgent safety needs of the housed and the unhoused, and fully reopen the park and beach for general public use."

Bonin says teams from St. Joseph Center will reach out to the approximately 200 people who live in encampments.

The six-week initiative, which runs till August, will offer homeless people a pathway to permanent housing and appropriate services to help them succeed, Bonin said. Each week, St. Joseph Center outreach teams will focus on a different geographic section of Ocean Front Walk.

"It's a housing, not handcuffs approach," Bonin says about his plan on Tuesday. "What we're trying to do is offer permanent housing services and interim shelter to everyone who is currently living on the boardwalk."

Bonin has pushed for a series of homeless housing solutions, proposing in March "safe camping" and temporary sites, including locations in Marina del Rey and Pacific Palisades.

The Venice boardwalk is home to 300 homeless people depending on the day. Residents and local merchants are less than pleased by this development.

"The Venice Beach Encampment to Home program will not be led by law enforcement, nor driven by threats of arrest or incarceration," said Bonin in a statement. "We will offer what works: housing, with counseling, or mental health services, substance abuse recovery services, and anything else needed to successfully transition people into housing."

Earlier this month, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva sent deputies to Venice in an effort to clear the encampments, citing a lack of urgency from local leaders to develop an action plan. Venice is outside the sheriff's department's jurisdiction and is patrolled by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division.

Bonin said Los Angeles City Council will take up on July 1 final consideration of the $5 million in initial funding for this Encampment to Home program for Venice Beach.

 

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