The Rev. Steven Weller, chaplain for Venice’s homeless, saw value in all people
By Gary Walker
Nearly every day for 20 years, the Rev. Steven H. Weller and his wife Regina combed the Venice Boardwalk for opportunities to extend their friendship and service to the homeless. As chaplains and co-founders of the LAPD’s Homeless Task Force, the Wellers built genuine relationships with their clients and were able to convince many who shied away from social services to come in from the cold. In 2015 and 2016 alone they helped 320 people find immediate shelter or permanent housing, often tapping their extensive network of substance abuse treatment centers and housing providers to make miracles happen for difficult cases.
“I had five different organizations turn me down before the Wellers found us,” recalls Andrew Simpson, a Vietnam Veteran who spent years living on Venice Beach until the Wellers got him and his girlfriend into supportive housing.
As of late, Steven Weller had also been battling cancer. He died at home with Regina by his side on Sept. 1, having reached the age of 74.
“Steven loved people. He valued all of them. He saw their worth and believed they were beautifully created by a Creator,” Regina Weller said. “He treated the poor as though they were kings, and they responded to his sincerity.”
Weller was interred last Saturday after a private memorial service at Venice Foursquare Church, where he had been pastor since 2000 and senior pastor since 2004.
“The thing that was so amazing about Steve was that he had such an amazing track record and was so understated,” said L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes Venice. “He got things done and he did it from love. It was the key that allowed him to unlock the hearts of the folks who needed help.”
Steven Weller was born on April 29, 1942, and served in the U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group as a radio operator for the Green Berets from 1961 to 1964, said Regina Weller, who married
him in 1996.
Weller is also survived by three daughters from a previous marriage and two grandchildren.
Venice hotelier and business community leader Carl Lambert supported the Wellers’ efforts and praised them as self-starters who did not wait for formal social services agency support.
“I admire Regina and Steve for their unselfish caring and love for others,” Lambert told The Argonaut earlier this year.
“They have no clipboards, quotas or need for stats. They care so much for each individual that they carry all their personal history in their minds and hearts. That’s why people on the street trust them.”