The Los Angeles City Council recently finally a lease allowing the city to build a temporary homeless shelter at a former Metro bus yard in Venice. With this big, and controversial, change coming to Silicon Beach, we have broken down everything we know so far below.
About the Shelter
The shelter is part of Los Angles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “A Bridge Home program”, which the mayor announced in 2018 as a solution to provide shelter for homeless residents awaiting permanent housing funded by a $1.2 billion bond approved by Los Angeles voters in 2016.
Garcetti set aside $20 million for the program, with a goal creating a shelter in each of the city’s 15 council districts. The money is being supplemented by grants from the state and have already been far more costly than expected.
This building along is expected to cost roughly $8 million, with $5 million coming from city coffers and the remainder from a donation made by the California Community Foundation.
The goal of the shelter is to ultimately reduce the number of encampments in Venice and around Los Angeles.
Construction on the 154-bed shelter began in July and it is expected to be done by end of September or early October. Once construction is done and the shelter is furnished, the city will contract with service providers “People Assisting the Homeless” and “Safe Place for Youth” to staff the site with employees able to assist residents searching for permanent housing.
The shelter will be located at 100 Sunset Avenue and is only expected to be operational for the next 3 years. After that the transit agency has plans to redevelop the property, with proposed uses for the site including housing, retail, and even a boutique hotel.
The Homeless Shelter is not without Controversy
In 2018 when the project was first announced, City Councilmember Mike Bonin who is a big proponent of the shelter, was shouted at and booed by Venice Beach residents who opposed the shelter. The points made by residents included concerns about attracting more homeless residents to the area and neighborhood crime rates spiking.
The Venice Stakeholders Association—a frequent critic of the city’s homelessness policy—has also sued to block the shelter. The neighborhood group’s lawsuit is still pending, but a judge ruled in May that construction could move forward while the case is tried.