Officials Investigating Makeshift Wooden Raft Seen Floating in Venice Canal - NBC Southern California
Streets of Shame

Streets of Shame

Southern California's Homelessness Epidemic

Officials Investigating Makeshift Wooden Raft Seen Floating in Venice Canal

Built in the early 1900s, the canal system in a residential area of Venice was renovated in the 1990s

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Floating Barge Spotted in Venice Canal Raises Eyebrows

    Some of Los Angeles' homeless are moving from sidewalks to the water, storing their belongings on homemade barges in Venice, floating in the canals. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019)

    Authorities are investigating whether a floating wooden barge caught on camera floating in a Venice canal is creating a public hazard.

    Rebecca Dannenbaum, 49, says she made the barge to store her clothes and generators which she uses to make money charging electric scooters and sleeps out of an RV.

    But residents say she lives on the barge and have called police.

    Los Angeles police Capt. Brian Morrison said officials will determine Thursday what will be done with it.

    Video Shows Homeless Encampment Raft Floating in Venice Canal

    [LA] Video Shows Homeless Encampment Raft Floating in Venice Canal

    Video captured by a Venice resident shows a raft loaded with items floating in the city's historic canals. 

    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019)

    "Is it creating a public hazard? Is it blocking a thoroughfare or walkway? What is the impact to the community?" he said.

    Dannenbaum said that the barge helps protect her things.

    "We figured if we leave it up on the boat and push it into the middle it's less likely for people to raid it," she said.

    But those who live in multi-million dollar homes along the canals say they're fed up with the growing homeless encampments.

    "People that are sick or handicapped we need to help, but people who come to be lazy and want handouts and feel entitled - I don't want to encourage that," said Harris Jaffy.

    Dannenbaum says she grew up in Venice and doesn't cause any trouble.

    Video Appears to Show Homeless Raft Floating in Venice Canal

    [LA] Video Appears to Show Homeless Raft Floating in Venice Canal

    Video sent to NBC4 shows what appears to be a floating homeless encampment in Venice. Michelle Valles reports for Today in LA on Wednesday Jan. 23, 2019.

    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019)

    She says she docked the barge between two bridges to avoid bothering anyone.

    "I'm not breaking into homes or stealing bicycles," she said. "I'm not condoning that activity. I'm making an honest living."

    Built in the early 1900s, the canal system in a residential area of Venice was renovated in the 1990s. Part of the original system was paved over for roads, but the remainder was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s. 

    Venice has one of Los Angeles' highest concentrations of homeless.

    As part of the Venice Homeless Plan, the city is attempting to open voluntary storage programs to provide a place to keep belongings. Legislation has been introduced to expand storage services.

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