Support Free Safe Storage for Homeless People's Belongings in Venice, CA
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September 14, 2016
CD 11 Council Member, Mike Bonin, will have a community meeting THURS. 9/15/16 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.
The topic is: moving Free Safe Storage for homeless people in Venice to the former senior center at Westminster and Pacific Ave., Venice.
As many SUPPORTERS of this project, as possible, are needed to attend as a counterpoint to the NIMBYs and the haters who were VERY vocal and hostile at the Venice town hall meeting 9/8/16, on this topic.
PLS. FORWARD WIDELY TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS WHO SUPPORT THIS SOLUTION. THANK YOU!
March 14, 2015 - Posted on FB by Occupy Venice:
Longtime Venice Beach activist and un-housed resident Dave Busch was arrested last Friday morning (March 13) in an act of civil disobedience to fight the increased criminalization of the homeless and expose the boardwalk sweeps for what they are - an ongoing campaign to purge the homeless from the boardwalk and larger community. Venice has a free safe storage program, but it's full and needs to be expanded. Until then, where are people supposed to store their stuff?
During these sweeps, sanitation workers under protection of the police apply selective enforcement when confiscating and disposing of personal possessions like sleeping bags, tents, etc. They target the un-housed/homeless and leave tourists' and other people's possessions along the beach alone during the sweeps, clearly a violation of equal protection under the law. Dave took upon himself to block sanitation vehicles and at one point was facing a $100,000 bail on Friday (an absurd amount), but has been released. More on his arrest via the LA Times:
Please sign this petition to send a message to Councilman Mike Bonin that he should follow through on this pledge to provide permanent storage facilities for homeless people in Venice!
July 11, 2014 - The Free Safe Storage Program in Venice needs our support. The program is under threat of being closed down at the end of the month and needs our help to remain open year around. Currently it serves the community from 5:30-6:30 every day.
The storage is free and the total annual cost is a few hundred dollars of liability insurance - that's it.
Please put your full support behind keeping the storage facility open and operating all year by signing this petition to Councilman Mike Bonin. Thanks!
...and also let Mike Bonin know you support using Westminster Senior Center as a permanent facility for unhoused people to store their belongings and receive other, urgently needed, services. It just makes good sense to use that empty building, owned by the City of L.A., for such a program.
Jan. 3, 2014 - It's a new year and a new day -- "rumor" has it that Councilman Bonin is already back-tracking on his pledge to honor VNC's vote on where to place storage bins - at the Westminster Senior Center -- in favor of the Baptist Church at 7th & Westminster, as far away from Venice boardwalk as possible -- and certain business interests.
PLEASE sign this petition - which has been recently modified to reflect the latest turn of events - to urge Bonin to keep to his word and do what Venice community wants - for a change! ...and forward widely, thanks. TBN
The Venice storage program gives homeless people a place to keep their belongings - good idea :) Some Venice residents/business people don't like the idea and think it is enabling more homeless people to be in Venice. But L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin supports the program and has put aside the opposition voiced by the "grinches" of Venice and is going ahead with the much needed program this winter.
Argonaut December 24, 2013: Storage unit for belongings of shelter users draws criticism: Even some who support the program say it should be located somewhere other than the Venice boardwalk.
A plan to once again allow homeless men and women to store their possessions in a container on the Venice boardwalk has been met with nearly unanimous opposition — a rare moment of agreement for the beachside enclave on matters pertaining to the homeless.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin announced on Dec. 11 that he would follow in the footsteps of former Councilman Bill Rosendahl and authorize a temporary storage unit for belongings of homeless people who spend the night in winter shelters. Bonin also proposed using the same location, an area behind the paddle tennis courts near Ocean Front Walk and 19th Avenue.
Many residents and business owners, however, object to staging the storage program on the boardwalk for a variety of reasons.
Members of the Venice Neighborhood Council voted Dec. 17 to recommend allowing shelter users to instead store their belongings at the nearby Westminster Senior Center on Pacific Avenue.
There were eight votes for the senior center and three for the First Baptist Church, which already provides some homeless services but is about two miles from the boardwalk. None supported the boardwalk.
“The boardwalk is an economic engine for Venice,” said Daniel Samakow, who co-owns three restaurants near Ocean Front Walk and said the plan to locate the storage container there didn’t take into account the consequences for local businesses.
Gary Harris, who lives on Ocean Front Walk, said the area around the container last year had become “an encampment for the homeless” and said Bonin’s proposal was “disrespecting the boardwalk and the community.”
Deborah Lashever, a Marina del Rey resident who formerly owned a business on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, also thought the senior center was the best choice because participants could also access social services workers there.
“If there’s going to be a permanent long-term program, it has to be inside,” Lashever said.
Samakow said he and others in the business community supported having the location at the First Baptist Church because the Mildred Cursh Foundation and a Safe Place for Youth both use the church for their social services initiatives several days a week.
The church had talked the idea over with Samakow and others, First Baptist minister Samuel Crutchfield said.
Venice Neighborhood Council member Erin Sullivan Ward, who voted to offer storage at the senior center, questioned the wisdom of using the church in Venice’s Oakwood neighborhood.
“I think the residents there would be up in arms about this,” she said.
In an early December interview, Bonin said he doubted the church would be a good place for the homeless to store their belongings.
“The goal is to find a location that is functionally suitable with the minimal impact. I think that is significantly more challenging in a residential neighborhood,” Bonin said.
Other suggestions of where to locate the storage program include the St. Joseph Center, Venice of America Centennial Park (the tiny park near the Venice Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority yard on Pacific Avenue.
“There will be challenges at every site — challenges of permitting, of space, of many different things,” Debbie Dyner-Harris, Bonin’s district director, told council members.
Bonin said the storage program will remain at Ocean Front Walk unless and until a new location is worked out.
In the meantime, “As long as people live on our streets, it is humane to give them a place to store their belongings. Providing secure and safe storage of belongings to people without shelter gives them both peace of mind and dignity,” Bonin said.
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