Southern California

Vacant Bus Yard to Become 154-Bed Homeless Shelter in Venice

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has selected People Assisting the Homeless to manage and operate a bridge housing facility set to open in Venice this summer, Councilman Mike Bonin announced Thursday.

The facility, which will provide 100 beds for adults and 54 beds for youth, was recently cleared to open when a judge denied a preliminary injunction that would have held up its construction.

People Assisting the Homeless, which Bonin's office said is one of the nation's most successful and respected homeless service providers, will be the lead operator of the site and will work with Venice-based Safe Place for Youth.

"I am thrilled to be moving forward with such an excellent team," Bonin said. "PATH and SPY are highly regarded service providers with a history of success, years of experience in the community, and a great track record of working with neighbors. I am confident they will make Bridge Home Venice a success.''

Bonin proposed the Venice location -- a vacant bus yard owned by Metro at 100 E. Sunset Ave. -- as a location for Mayor Eric Garcetti's A Bridge Home program, which calls for installing temporary shelters in each of the city's 15 council districts.

The City Council voted in December to move forward with developing the shelter, triggering a lawsuit by the Venice Stakeholders Association to stop the shelter from moving forward.

The judge's ruling last week cleared the way for construction on the shelter to begin, although a trial is scheduled for October on the VSA's overall arguments against the shelter.

The Bridge Home program was first announced by Garcetti during his State of the City speech in April 2018 as a new front in the fight against homelessness. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's 2018 homeless count found that more than 31,000 people are homeless in the city, including more than 23,000 living without shelter, which were both slight drops from the previous year after years of increases.

The bridge shelters are intended as a temporary solution to the problem while the city builds thousands of permanent supportive units approved in 2016 by city voters via Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure.

Garcetti and other leaders say the temporary shelters help transition homeless people off the street and into permanent housing, along with providing them access to supportive services, including addiction counseling.

"Bridge housing is an important first step in the process of moving our most vulnerable into permanent supportive housing and PATH is grateful for the continued partnership of Councilmember Bonin on this effort,'' said Jennifer Hark-Dietz, deputy CEO of PATH. "Venice Bridge Home is a sign of progress and it is of the utmost importance that elected officials, landlords, the nonprofit sector and neighborhood leaders continue to work together to find and build housing for those in need.''

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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