VNC Supports Storage Container via Triangle Update

Reprinted, courtesy of Reta Moser, Triangle Update, 23 January 2013. If you would like to subscribe to the Triangle Update, send an email here.

VNC Supports Storage Container

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Steve Clare and Arturo Pina field questions from board and the audience.

The Venice Neighborhood Council met Tuesday night and voted to support the storage container that was placed across from the LAPD substation at Venice beach to support the winter shelter program.  The storage container will be used to provide storage for homeless people’s “stuff” so they can go to the Winter Shelter.
It was mentioned many times that this is a pilot program.  It will run from the time it opens until 1 March, a little over 30 days.  Sixty days after it closes, Steve Clare will present a report to the VNC summarizing the program.
The Winter Shelter, which is the armory in Brentwood, opened 1 December and will close 1 March.  The storage container will be out of its present location no later than 8 March, according to Arturo Pina of the council office.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl attended the meeting and talked about the airport and made mention of that fact that the “storage container” not being brought before the Venice Neighborhood Council prior to almost implementation was his fault.
Bill Carter, chief deputy for city attorney, said that the abandoned belongings law is being interpreted that the City must provide storage for the homeless belongings.  “It is being addressed as not an enforcement issue but as a humanitarian issue,” he said.  This is not the same storage situation that was being addressed by the VNC.

Steve Clare and Arturo Pina field questions from board and the audience.

This storage container program is authorized by the council office and administered by Steve Clare, director of Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC).  Both Arturo Pina and Steve Clare fielded question from the board and the audience.
Since last Update, the container will be open for storage two hours, 3 to 5 pm.  City will be dropping off storage containers before end of this week.  People storing “stuff” will have to have paper signed that they indeed did go to shelter.  People will put their stuff in a container and sign that what is there is worth less than $100 for insurance purposes.  Volunteers, the container, and the contents will all be insured for liability. Darryl Dufay brought up the question of the insurance.  A trash barrel will be near by if a homeless person wants to discard some of his stuff.

Apparently, there are approximately 25 to 40 available beds at the armory each night.  The armory contains 160 beds.  The armory also provides case help.
Most of the comments from the audience and the board were that they were disappointed that this could not be vetted properly prior to implementation.  Many had questions that were answered, many praised the program, many had questions that weren’t answered.
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One person asked why the container was placed there.  Arturo Pina asked “where would you
Darryl Dufay
suggest it go?   This is in close proximity to the busses that pick people
up/drop off on Market.”
Another was concerned that, if volunteers didn’t search the stuff, there might be a gun enclosed.  Steve Clare said: “Yes, there might be” and indicated that it would probably be safer for all in the container.
One man mentioned that a U-Haul truck could have been rented and hauled to the winter shelter and back.

Those most affected by the homeless are those living on or near the Venice Beach boardwalk.  Gary Harris had a petition signed my business owners, property owners and the paddle tennis players from the Ocean Front Walk against this.  They are afraid this will encourage more to come to Venice.
Mark Ryavek, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, stated he would file an injunction against the City for not having an environmental impact report for the storage container
Tom Elliott, VNC community officer who represents Ocean Front Walk, more or less summed it up by stating something to fact that “We were all upset about it not coming to the VNC prior to this but 99 percent of the people here tonight are sympathetic regarding the homeless.  It is
Gary Harris
just that this is a band-aid solution to a bigger problem.  We should work together to find solutions.”
The final vote for supporting the storage container motion was 8
for, 5 opposed, and 4 abstentions.

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LA Times Covers Costa Mesa’s Homeless Plan
The Sunday LA Times had an article about Costa Mesa’s homeless problem and it sounded like it mirrored Venice. Only Costa Mesa now has two deaths attributed to the cold.
For anyone who is tired of the homeless in Venice or for those who are sympathetic to the homeless, this is a good read. It is the story of one community’s decision to take this issue of homeless on–rise to the occasion.
Two years ago they formed a task force. They asked themselves questions, such as “Were we doing it because it made us feel good or because it was really meeting a need.” They asked themselves questions such as “Is what we are providing encouraging homeless to come to Costa Mesa?”
Becks Heyhoe, director of the Churches Consortium, a collective effort of about a dozen churches, says that the City for the first time in its history has said they are willing to address homelessness in Costa Mesa. The deaths of two last week kicked city services and charities into action.
Here is the link http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-homeless-cold-20130120,0,243727.story

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