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Efforts To Address Homelessness Crisis Along Venice Boardwalk Seeing Results

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Steps taken to address the homelessness crisis in the Venice area are reaping rewards as more than 100 unhoused Angelenos have accepted a pathway to permanent housing.

While homeless advocates say what Councilman Mike Bonin and St. Joseph's Center are doing to transfer the unhoused to temporary housing is a step in the right direction, they also agree that more needs to be done.

Meanwhile, businesses say they are feeling safer now that some encampments have been removed.

Police have not definitively stated that crime in the area was primarily attributed to the local homeless population; however, some residents already say they feel it has become safer since the removal of some of the encampments.

Since June 28, after Councilman Bonin's Encampment to Home program, with the help of outreach teams from St. Joseph's Center, Bonin says 160 people who used to live on the streets of Venice's Boardwalk have since taken steps to acquire permanent housing with the city's assistance.

Most of the people who've been moved from the boardwalk are temporarily staying in motels while some have moved into a Venice shelter.

"We're super happy that folks are getting some temporary housing solutions," said Becky Dennison, the Executive Director of the nonprofit Venice Community Housing.

While some agree with L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva's outreach approach, Dennison says seeing the sheriff's department and police can be traumatizing to some people.

Dennison says she supports the temporary housing effort, but that it can't be the end goal.

"The city and county and the state and the federal government have to put massive investment into permanent housing solutions. That's the only thing that can change the conditions on our streets and sidewalks," she said.

Councilman Bonin said 119 people have already been matched with permanent housing vouchers, and St. Joseph's Center is searching for available units and landlords that will accept the vouchers.


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