We sued the City and County to end the homeless crisis. Join us.

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At a time when record levels of resources are going to address LA’s homelessness crisis, the situation continues to spin out of control. Everyone agrees that the status quo is unacceptable - for the unsheltered and sheltered alike - yet our leaders keep trying the same solutions and getting the same results. The LA Alliance for Human Rights sued the City and County of Los Angeles to break this cycle and to compel our local leaders to act urgently and creatively to solve this crisis in all of our neighborhoods, from Downtown to Venice and from Hollywood to Northridge, just to name a few.

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Who We Are

The LA Alliance for Human Rights is a broad-based coalition of community members who understand that our homeless crisis requires urgent and dramatic action. The Alliance includes non-profits, service providers, small business owners, residents, and community leaders who are saddened by the suffering on our streets and fed up with excuses about the status quo.

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Homelessness In Venice

Homelessness in the small beach community of Venice is at a breaking point. 

Venice accounts for 5 % of the land, but 49% of the homeless population in CD11. This was not always the case.  

In February of 2014, a few months after City Councilman Mike Bonin and Mayor Eric Garcetti took office, the Los Angeles Times reported 175 homeless people in Venice. A recent homeless count in 2019 shows that now more than 1,200 people live on Venice sidewalks, streets, and beaches, representing approximately 1 in 40 residents. While the Venice homeless population is increasing, the homeless population in the rest of CD 11 has been falling.  

As a result, for many residents in Venice, this small, already crowded, and heavily touristed community has been so overwhelmed with crime, squalor, open-air drug dealing, human feces, trash on streets, and scattered syringes are now a common sight in residential neighborhoods, near elementary schools and local businesses. 

How did we get here?

The data suggest that our crisis stems from poor leadership, evident in the squandering of public resources by public officials and their designees, the geographic over-concentration of homeless services, and the lack of accountability by political leaders and service providers.  

These are the same issues that L.A. Alliance identified in its lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles as being the cause of devastation on skid row; the same systemic city failures are particularly apparent in Venice.  

Rise in numbers

City-data obtained by Fight Back Venice reveals that during Mike Bonin’s and Eric Garcetti’s tenure in office, while the street-dwelling population in the rest of Bonin’s district (Council District 11) dropped by double-digits; including a 77% drop in Brentwood, a 59% drop in Pacific Palisades and a 42% drop in Westchester/Playa Del Rey, the homeless population in Venice went up more than 60%.

Public Resources are being squandered by poor leadership.

The City would have the public believe that it is without resources to address homelessness adequately. This is simply untrue.  

In 2019, Bonin shepherded the donation of approximately 3.1 acres of property one block from the beach for use for the City’s “A Bridge Home” program, one of the only “Bridge Home” sites in CD11 despite ample availability of less valuable government property throughout the district. Over protests of residents, the City failed to consider any alternative locations for the project.

Since opening, the Bridge Housing facility in Venice has also failed the community. Although Mike Bonin promised that the ”A Bridge Home” initiative would provide relief from street crime, drug use and public endangerment, the $16 million project has been a far cry from the “good neighbor” policy Bonin promised the neighbors.

Venice’s “A Bridge Home” project has only exacerbated the local problem. This is reflected in the dramatic increase in crime in the surrounding residential community. According to CPRA requests, the first few months of opening the bridge home, over 150 calls to 911 made from within the facility. 

Overpriced oversized Permanent Supportive Housing continues in Venice

The Venice Neighborhood Council recently voted down an oversized overpriced project presented by the largest homeless housing builders in Venice, Venice Community Housing (VCHC), only to have that vote overturned by the City's Planning Commission, which included an outright admonishment about housing the needy. But Permanent Supportive Housing (“PSH”) is only needed by approximately 20% of the population, is prohibitively expensive, and leaves too many out on the street without help.

The project’s budget is $20 million for 40 units at the cost of $500,000k each until. This project comes as the same group is breaking ground a few blocks away on a project projected at $500,000 for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. VCHC is also working on the Reese-Davidson Community on the Venice Canals or what many Venice residents call the “Monster on the Median.”

The Reese-Davidson Community on the Venice Canals comprises two three-story complexes – the West Complex and the East Complex – totaling 104,140 square feet of developed space, including 64,280 square feet of residential space, 2,255 square feet of retail space and 5,365 square feet of common area, as well as a 3,155-square-foot art studio and an 810-square-foot restaurant. Each complex has a multi-level parking structure in the middle surrounded by residential units – “Texas Donut” style. VCHC originally projected costs of $340,000 per unit.

However, financial records that FBV secured through public records requests show that VCHC is now projecting development costs of $68 million for the residential portion of the project, or approximately $470,000 per unit of Prop 2 or affordable housing in the project excluding parking, land and overages.

The L.A. Alliance is our best hope

Many Venice residents have joined L.A. Alliance to end the human suffering on the streets AND the adverse effects homelessness has on residents. We are ready for oversight and equal distribution of homeless services so that communities can absorb the housed and unhoused needs.   

If you are a Venice resident and want to get involved, contact us. 

RESIDENT QUOTES

It is necessary to file an action because the executive and legislative branches of the County and City have failed to adequately respond to the present emergency. It is unconscionable that our local government does not properly shelter those living in encampments. Last year, nearly a 1000 homeless died in the street. They should have had a right to shelter and government the obligation to provide it.

– Joseph Charney

I am glad there is an Organization that is trying to stop Homelessness! Homelessness is a Major Concern on our Neighborhood. It is time to create a solution to this long time problem. You have my full support to your campaign.

– Diony Rebuta

Homelessness is a Major Problem in Los Angeles. I am very happy that there is an organization trying to solve it. Keep it up!

– Ericson Alviz

So thankful to finally see an organization like this caring for the future of these poor, unfortunate lives suffering on the streets of Los Angeles. Keep up the good work! The homeless issue is getting out of hand. Driving around town and seeing tents on every corner is depressing and wrong!

– Sara H

Stay Updated

Get the Facts

The Homeless Count

for LA County went from 46,874 in 2016 to 66,436 in 2020, an increase of 20 thousand over five years

67 % of the unsheltered

in the County of Los Angeles suffer from mental illness and or substance abuse disorder

African Americans make up 34%

of those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County, despite representing just 8% of the overall population, according to the data

The number of Los Angeles

homeless homicide victims is increasing. While only one percent of the city’s population lives on the streets or in shelters, homeless people accounted for about 17 percent of its homicide victims during 2019

PRESS

A Judge Commandeers L.A.'s City Hall in His Campaign to Curb Homelessness

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LA leaders, accused of failure to address homelessness, try to show progress ...

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LA Times

Under pressure, L.A. agrees to provide 6,000 new beds to clear homeless camps...

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Fox 11 LA

LA city, county reach agreement to bring 7,000 homeless people indoors over n...

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MILESTONES

May 13, 2019

First meeting of LA Alliance members; fundraising begins

September 26, 2019

First phase fundraising goal met; research on lawsuit begins

November 19, 2019

Talks begin with City and County officials

March 10, 2020

Talks reach an impasse; Lawsuit filed

March 19, 2020

Emergency Status Conference held; local officials throughout Southern California appear to affirm commitment to process

March 24-May 15

8 status conferences held

April 28, 2020

Chair of County Board of Supervisors Kathryn Barger files letter of intent to enter into settlement negotiations

May 22, 2020

Court issues Preliminary Injunction requiring alternative shelter and relocation of all persons living over/under/near freeways (approx. 7,000 people)

May 29, 2020

City Council President Nury Martinez files letter of intent to enter into settlement negotiations

June 18, 2020

City and County reach agreement to provide 6,700 beds and share cost of services

June 25, 2020

Settlement negotiations with all parties begins

QUOTES

"[O]ur holding does not cover individuals who do have access to adequate temporary shelter, whether because they have the means to pay for it or because it is realistically available to them for free, but who choose not to use it."

– Martin v City of Boise, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal

Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis cannot be managed or mitigated, it must come to an end. Letting three people die everyday on our sidewalks is not compassion – it’s cruel. This lawsuit, and the collaborative process that it has unleashed, is the best opportunity we have had in years to solve our homeless crisis.

– Don Steier, Chair, LA Alliance for Human Rights

[Mayor] Garcetti has only sporadically showed up - and only a result of the federal lawsuit that has forced him to...

– “General Jeff” Page, Community Organizer

[T]he plaintiffs, quite frankly, have been in our office, and we've talked to them, and we wanted to work toward addressing this issue. So I don't view this as us against them because we're all in this together. And working with all of our 87 other cities along with L.A. city is what L.A. County is committed to do.

I don't view the people that got us here today in an adversarial way. In fact, I admire their courage for stepping forward.

– Kathryn Barger, Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

"So with the City Council, the Mayor and with the Board of Supervisors essentially saying we can get this done that ought to send a message of consequence far and wide of our resolve."

– Mark Ridley Thomas, Supervisor, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

"[W]e all understand that this is a first step in a long road to try to resolve this issue with the partnership of the county and the city."

– Nury Martinez, President, Los Angeles City Council

LEAVE YOUR OWN QUOTE!

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WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

Video

“Los Angeles is on a similar trajectory to Seattle, without a monumental shift in resources and policy”

LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES

  • August 03, 2020

    August 3, 2020

    The Court was forced to take a recess from holding sessions due to the surge in virus cases in LA County, but has ambitiously scheduled a new hearing for Friday, August 7, to be held at LA City Hall.

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  • April 30, 2020

    April 30, 2020

    As you might have read, we are thrilled that both the County and City have agreed to settle our case, and enter into a consent decree supervised by the courts.

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  • April 11, 2020

    April 11, 2020

    I hope you all are well.  Our case is one of the very few cases that continue during this period. Although the Courthouse is closed our hearings continue in the Alexandria Hotel ballroom.

    Read More