A recently launched, precedent setting pilot program will increase the amount of supportive services for the homeless, provide relief for Ocean Front Walk stakeholders, and allow for better enforcement of City ordinances stuck in pending federal cases, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl announced today.
Rosendahl, along with the Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH), have collaborated on a pilot storage program called ‘Check-In Storage’ that is strictly for homeless individuals who take part in the Winter Shelter Program. The initiative allows those in the shelter program to store their personal belongings in a storage container located at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Venice Beach substation.
The VCHC will administer the comprehensive voluntary storage program that will end at the same time with the Winter Shelter on March 1.
“The pending federal cases against the City have created a variety of side effects and issues for my constituents in the 11th District,” said Rosendahl. “Enough is enough. This pilot storage program will assist with supportive services for the most vunerable in our community, provide relief for those trying to operate a business along Ocean Front Walk, and help the City enforce laws that provide a better quality of life for everyone along Venice Beach.”
Guests of the Winter Shelter, which is located at the West LA Armory on the VA Campus, are allowed to bring only the items they can carry. Those who take part in the program end up leaving the rest of their belongings at the shelter’s pick up and drop off location on Venice Beach. Currently the shelter is running at 70 percent capacity, which could increase this coming weekend with rain in the forecast for our coastal communities.
A 10’x30′ storage container has been placed next to the Police Substation on Venice Beach near Market and Ocean Front Walk, along with 25 rollaway trash bins to be assigned for safe storage.
“This has been a miserable winter so far, with a lot of rain and temperatures dropping into the 30s on many nights,” said Steve Clare, Executive Director of VCH, in an email to supporters. “We hope this program will allow more people to get off the ground and out of the cold, at least until March 1st.”“
The VCH email also points out that a program already operates successfully downtown in Skid Row and in other nearby cities.
Historically, the Winter Shelter Program did not include a link to services or counseling. This year is different thanks to the persistent lobbying by Rosendahl who helped provide case workers for shelter guests. Those workers are focused on engaging needy individuals and getting them on the right track in life.
“The pilot storage program encourages participation in the shelter with the overarching goal of job and housing placement,” said Rosendahl. “Those who do not want help will have to deal with the consequences of the law.”
Rosendahl has heard from all his constituents on the need to focus on the public safety issues associated with the personal property left behind on the boardwalk. He’s also heard from advocates of supportive services on the need to focus on permanent housing for the homeless.
The storage program is currently open everyday from 3-5 p.m. For more information on how to volunteer, please call VCH at 310-399-4100.