Posted February 3, 2016 by The Argonaut in Columns
EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week’s Argonaut exclusive about L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin’s push to build affordable housing on the former Metro bus yard  in Venice has generated such  a flood of letters that we didn’t have room to print them all.  Pick up next week’s issue to  read the rest.

‘An Encouraging Step Forward’

The proposal approved Thursday to prioritize affordable housing on the Metro property at Main Street and Sunset Avenue is a positive and encouraging step forward for Metro, for the city and for the Venice community.

The city is facing the worst housing affordability crisis in the nation, and Venice is among the most extreme examples of neighborhoods that are simply out of reach for most Angelenos.

In order to protect and preserve the longstanding diversity in Venice, as well as provide opportunities for our houseless neighbors to move off the streets into housing, we must embrace proposals like these and support every chance to increase high quality housing options and improve our neighborhood for everyone.

Becky Dennison
Executive Director, Venice Community Housing

Weave it into the Historic Fabric

I want to lend my congratulations to Mike Bonin for piloting the transformation of the Metro bus yard on Main Street to eventual use as affordable housing.

Might I suggest that in recognition of the loss of hundreds of Craftsman houses and the overdevelopment of Venice over the last 30 years that the city require that the new project be built in Craftsman style and observe the limits of the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan?

This is a rare opportunity to extend the walk streets to the west of Pacific Avenue through to Main Street and recreate the two-story Craftsman apartment buildings on Horizon as affordable units on the former bus yard site. For once we would significantly add to the historic Venetian architectural style while keeping to the low density which has characterized Venice for over 100 years.

Mark Ryavec
President, Venice Stakeholders Association

Big Idea isn’t Big Enough

Even with maximal construction of affordable housing at the three-acre bus yard, how many of L.A.’s estimated 44,000 homeless people could actually be housed there?

Not that many.

How many more affordable housing units could be built in lower-cost areas for the funds that would be generated by high-end residential or commercial development of this $50-million piece of prime property near the beach?

Probably many times more!
Frank Nickels, Venice

‘We Need More Housing’

As executive director of St. Joseph Center, I know that the reasons people become homeless can be very complex, including job loss, mental illness, family tragedy and a host of other contributing factors.

However, the fundamental solution is relatively simple: We need more housing.

Councilman Bonin’s visionary proposal to convert Metro’s former Venice bus yard into affordable housing will provide this essential resource in a community where it has long been in critically short supply.

Since 2009, St. Joseph Center has helped more than 200 of Venice’s most vulnerable homeless men and women move into apartments. Thanks to ongoing supportive services, 94% of them have remained housed.

Unfortunately, most of these formerly homeless people have been forced to obtain housing far from the community they called home for many years. Likewise, many families who access St. Joseph Center’s range of services have found themselves pushed further and further east over the last decade by rising rents and conversions of rental properties into condominiums.

Councilman Bonin’s proposal will allow people in need to remain in their own neighborhood and will help Venice maintain the diverse, inclusive spirit that has made the community famous around the world.

Va Lecia Adams Kellum

Executive Director,
St. Joseph Center, Venice

‘Can’t Happen Soon Enough’

I applaud Councilman Bonin’s call to create a minimum of 35% very affordable housing on the now vacant Metro bus yard in Venice. I’m particularly pleased that the land will be leased and not sold, which makes it economically feasible to build and keep affordable housing in the coastal zone, where such housing has been hemorrhaging away and thus forcibly removing people who have lived in Venice their entire lives but don’t own their homes.

Without diversity — social, economic, cultural and racial — Venice will no longer be unique, but like any other Manhattan Beach-type affluent beach town. We will no longer be able to say “Only Venice is Venice,” and will have to say “Only Venice was Venice.”

And if what Bonin says is true — “This is not the only piece of government-owned property in my council district that will be used for affordable housing” — I say bravo! It can’t happen soon enough.

Linda Lucks, Venice


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