Venice, CA - More than thirty residents spoke for two hours giving passionate testimonies to the Bureau of Engineering at the Ramada Inn Homeless Shelter hearing this past Thursday. Their message--Venice can't handle any more.
If approved, the Ramada Inn Homeless shelter will be the sixth homeless housing project in Venice in the past year.
Ramada Inn Homeless Shelter
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the acquisition and change of use of the two-story 12,220-square foot Ramada Inn located at 3130 Washington Blvd to an interim homeless housing shelter.
The Ramada Inn was sold to the City for Project Home Key. Project Home Key is a program that provides hotels and motels for homeless housing. The program started at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
Neighbors of the Ramada Inn say they first learned about the project after the sale of the motel. They also say they are worried about what the shelter will do to their residential neighborhood.
It’s kind of a long story, said Wendell Blassingame when describing how he became the “mayor…
As for who will oversee the shelter, People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) has been contracted to run the facility once it is renovated and ready for residents to move in.
Like most shelters ran by Los Angeles service providers, there will be no requirement of employment or sobriety. Mental, physical health, and substance use disorder services will be provided. Pets will also be allowed.
As for maintenance and upkeep of the shelter, PATH will be responsible for landscaping and security.
Data obtained by Venice Vision, an organization fighting the overconcentration of services in Venice, shows that since Councilmember Mike Bonin has been in office, the homeless population in Venice has gone up more than 1,000 percent. The organization says a large reason for the increase is containment. In its 3 by 3 square miles, Venice is four percent of CD 11's land yet it has 60 percent of the homeless population.
Venice is also the only community in CD 11 to see a significant increase in the amount of homeless housing projects. Including the Ramada Inn, in just the past year, six homeless housing projects have been built--or are being proposed to be built in Venice.
Last February, Venice opened its 154 bed Bridge Home. The cost of the project came in at $13 million for the three-year temporary shelter.
The vertical construction of the $20.6-million Venice Community Housing (VCHC) permanent supportive complex located on Rose Ave was completed last month. Each unit for the 35 unit apartment building project will be about $541,141 a door.
The Lincoln Apartments project, located at 2469 Lincoln Boulevard, is a $28 million project in partnership with VCHC and Safe Place for Youth (SPY). The project will consist of 39 apartment units of affordable housing, with 19 apartments set aside for those experiencing chronic homelessness and 20 for transition-aged (18 to 24) youth. In late December, the Coastal Commission denied a petition against the project.
Marion place, another VCHC project, includes seven lots located at Marion Place and East Venice Blvd. If approved, the project calls for the demolition of two detached garages and the conversion of seven existing single-family dwellings to eight permanent supportive housing units, one manager's unit, and 2,491 square feet of supportive services.
One of the largest projects on the table is the proposed Reese Davidson project. The project is a joint venture between VCHC and Hollywood Community Housing Corp. If approved, the facility will be constructed on a 2.8-acre parcel in a residential area straddling the Grand Canal at the Venice Boulevard entrance to Venice Beach. The parcel is so large that the Request for Qualifications / Proposals issued by the City for the project expressly stated: "Proposed Development Strategies do not need to include the entire site", according to Venice Vision.
Plans call for constructing buildings on both sides of Venice's Grand Canal, creating a total of 140 apartments, 7,405 square feet of commercial space. A 360-car garage would also be built with the project, serving both residents and visitors to Venice Beach.
Ramada Inn Homeless Shelter Schedule
A final staff report from the Bureau of Engineering is expected on February 17. Then, on February 27, the appeal period ends. On March 1, an issue notice of permit issuance is expected. Then on April 2, the CDP appeal period ends. According to City Council files, the property must have 50 percent occupancy by March.