As a 22-year resident and property owner in Venice, I feel I
have some perspective on the homeless situation and how it’s changed for the
worse over the past few years.
I was at the VNC meeting on Monday. It’s focus was to
convince everyone that there’s a problem with homelessness, but there were
really no answers about how the supportive housing projects would specifically relieve the dire situation we’re facing as a community here in Venice.
I was told by multiple VNC reps that only about 45 units of
the Venice median project would be allotted for the chronically homeless – and
there is no guarantee that ANY of the homeless now living in Venice would
receive that housing. In fact, statistically, none of the people currently
living on the streets of our community would get this housing. Even if 45 out
of the over 3,000 thousand homeless people living on the streets in West LA alone were
to get that housing, how, in any way, would it help our community? These
projects would provide services to not only its residents, but to other
homeless people as well. They will act as magnets, drawing even more homeless
to the streets of Venice, further exacerbating the problem.
I asked multiple representatives supporting the project this
question and no one had an answer. I also asked how will these projects
positively affect our community. The only answer I got was that “…it will get
45 people off the streets.” When I replied that this a statistically
insignificant number and that the 45 folks may not even come from Venice, I was
told “…it’s better than nothing.” When I said these projects would attract even
more homeless to the area, their reply was that “…they will come any way.”
I asked why there are 3 projects in Venice, but none in the
Palisades, Malibu or any of the other beach communities I was told, “…because
they (Malibu/Palisades) will fight the projects more than Venice.” I was
surprised by his honesty, but is this how major policy decisions should be
Another resident of Venice was concerned about his property
values. He was told “…statistically, supportive housing projects have no effect on
property values.” I cannot imagine this is correct, or the stat was cherry
picked – maybe because on skid row the property values are already low, they're
not effected by creating supportive housing? Personally, I took a huge financial
risk buying property in Venice. Most of my wealth is tied up in that property.
Why should the property I’ve worked so hard for become the victim of a dubious
I asked, “If we’re really talking about providing housing
for the greatest number of people, doesn’t it make sense to create supportive
housing in areas that have lower building costs, because then you’d be able to build many more units, thus getting more people off the streets? I was told that
“…if I had time I could tell you how this works, but I’m never going to
convince you anyway.” When I expressed my frustration at his answer, he took a
morally superior tone, and I was made to feel like I was a bad person who
doesn’t care about homeless people. I do care about homeless people, but the
project they’re proposing will not address the current problems and will only
make them worse.
All this being said, I might support supportive housing in
Venice, if there was some guarantee that something would be done about the
truly disgusting and dangerous encampments at 3rd and Rose and the Boardwalk
and Rose. This is what I observed in just one week of dropping my 8 year old
daughter off at surf lessons in the parking lot at Rose Ave. at 8:45 in the
morning (no exaggerations):
A man defecating against a building on Speedway, even though
there were open public restrooms less than 100 yrds away.
Two men having a fist fight over a skateboard.
A totally naked man showering in plain view of dozens of
small children next to the playground.
Open drinking and drug use – again, in plain sight of kids.
I nearly ran over a man rolling around in the middle of
Speedway, totally out of his mind on drugs/alcohol.
When my wife picked up my daughter one afternoon, she found
the whole group of kids crying because a homeless man had lit another homeless
guy's stuff on fire. The fire was so large a fire truck had to come.
How is this acceptable? Why is this behavior condoned? How
are these squalid encampments not a health code violation? Why are the laws not
being enforced in Venice? The encampments on the beach in the Palisades was
removed. I don’t see any encampments in Malibu, or Manhattan Beach or Hermosa?
How about Beverly Hills?
I pay tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes every
year, yet I feel like I have no input in major decisions that affect my quality
of life—from the supportive housing projects, to the “road diets,” to my home
being designated an “historic property” without any public notification or
discourse or vote.
As a true stakeholder in my community, I feel it’s
unacceptable that these types of projects that directly affect my life keep
getting approved and implemented with next to no public input. The only chance
we have to make an impact is to attend the public hearings that are coming up:
Monday, Sept. 25, 2017
5pm to 7pm.
Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center
First Floor Public Meeting Room 1A/1B
6262 Van Nuys Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91401
Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017
5pm to 7pm
Los Angeles City Hall, Room 1060
200 N. Spring St.,
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m going and I encourage all residents of Venice to attend.
If we don’t speak up, it’s a done deal.