Storage Set Up on Venice Beach for Homeless Winter Shelter Program
By Paul Chavez, Venice Dispatch
A metal container was placed on Venice Beach on Tuesday morning to serve as a temporary storage option for homeless people using the Westside Winter Shelter program.
The storage container was set up next to the Los Angeles Police Department substation on Venice Beach, close to the area where the homeless line up at night for bus rides to the shelter.
The Venice Neighborhood Council‘s administrative committee during its Monday night meeting approved scheduling a public presentation on the pilot program by a representative of Councilman Bill Rosendahl during the Jan. 22 public board meeting at Westminster Avenue Elementary School. The board also is scheduled to vote on whether or not it supports the Westside Winter Shelter storage pilot program.
Venice Neighborhood Council President Linda Lucks recused herself Monday night from the lengthy 40-minute discussion on the matter to head off a perception of a conflict of interest, since she works for the non-profit Venice Community Housing Corporation that is administering the pilot program.
The pilot storage program was originally scheduled to be discussed at the board’s December meeting, but was taken off the agenda after the program apparently stalled.
The location for the storage container was changed four times by the city before officials settled on the Venice Beach police substation location, said Steve Clare, executive director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation, on Monday night. The non-profit group is seeking volunteers to help run the program and the storage option for homeless people headed to the winter shelter may be available by the end of the week, Clare said.
The storage option was designed to encourage more of the homeless to use the winter shelter, since many eschew the program because they can’t bring their personal belongings to the shelter. Homeless people board buses near the Venice Beach police substation at Windward Plaza each night, sleep at the 160-bed West Los Angeles National Guard Armory shelter and return the next morning to Venice Beach on buses.
The pilot homeless storage program will end March 1 when the Westside Winter Shelter closes.
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