Nineteen people who are now living on the streets of Venice will soon have a shelter to call home at an apartment building recently acquired by the Venice Community Housing Corporation.
The housing corporation has purchased an apartment building near the beach at Horizon Avenue and Speedway in Venice, offering affordable housing and support services to currently homeless people in the community. It is the 14th such facility that the Venice Community Housing Corporation has acquired for affordable housing in Venice and the surrounding area.
Nineteen of the building’s 20 units will be dedicated to housing a homeless person, while a live-in resident manager will occupy the other unit. The units are expected to become available to the new tenants starting early next year.
Steve Clare, director of the housing corporation, which is committed to providing affordable housing, job training and support services to low-income community members, said the purchase is part of the agency’s goal to not only get people off the streets but offer support such as healthcare and job training. The agency works to provide housing to the lowest income people that it can, he said.
“The mission of the Venice Community Housing Corporation has always been to provide affordable housing for people in our community,” Clare said.
“At a time when homelessness is growing, we are proud to be providing housing for some of the poorest among us and a solution for the community.”
According to Los Angeles County data, one of every 32 people living in Venice is homeless, and while results from this year’s city homeless count have yet to be released, Clare said he predicts that the numbers of homeless have increased, given the national economic crisis. Through its 13 existing buildings, the corporation has provided housing to about 480 people, 141 of whom have been homeless, he said.
The agency was able to purchase the $3.6 million apartment building with $750,000 in funding from the City of Los Angeles on a recommendation from Councilman Bill Rosendahl, as well as an acquisition loan from the Corporation for Supportive Housing. The real estate brokerage that handled the sale, Jeff Konecke and Venice Properties, also reduced their normal commission, Clare said.
Neil McGuffin, associate director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Los Angeles office, said the agency was pleased to work on the acquisition with the Venice corporation, which has a long history of providing housing on the Westside.
“I think they do great work. We’re happy to be able to assist them on this project,” McGuffin said.
The Horizon Avenue housing facility will assist the homeless individuals who stay there by providing permanent housing as well as support services that are necessary to help them remain there, McGuffin said. As studies show, the general public will also benefit because the cost to provide permanent housing to a homeless person is less than having them on the street, in regards to police patrol, emergency services and other care, he noted.
The Venice housing organization has also partnered with Venice-based St. Joseph Center on the project to offer mental health services and social needs to the tenants. Among the services that St. Joseph Center will provide are mental healthcare management, helping keep the rents current and supplying groceries as part of the food bank program, said Va Lecia Adams, the organization’s executive director.
“We’re obviously thrilled,” Adams said of the housing initiative. “Whenever there are new resources on the Westside it’s encouraging because we’re always looking for more affordable housing.
“The more housing stock that we can uncover, there’s a likelihood of being able to move these folks off the streets.”
The Edelman Community Mental Health Center also plans to provide counseling and mental health services to the new tenants.
Clare said he believes that the services available to the tenants of the new building will help them improve their lives and maintain stable housing, a primary focus of the Venice corporation.
“Our goal is to provide the services and support that people need to do well and thrive in our housing,” he said.