LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Sanitation workers are expected to arrive in Venice Friday morning to clear a portion of the Venice boardwalk as the deadline arrives for unhoused residents to accept offers of housing and shelter or leave the area.
The deadline to leave the area, designated "Zone 5," between Navy Street and Rose Avenue, was initially set for 7 a.m. July 9, but was extended by a week, after outreach teams with St. Joseph's Center requested more time to transition people into housing. The teams are working section by section on the boardwalk to bring people inside with a promise from the city of a pathway to permanent housing. As of Thursday afternoon, 118 people had accepted the offer.
The deadline for Zone 5 was extended to match the deadline for Zone 4, between Rose and Dudley avenues. Friday morning, enforcement is expected to begin in both zones, and Bureau of Sanitation workers will clear the area.
City Councilman Mike Bonin's "Encampment to Home" program began on June 28. The program promises all residents who accept shelter a pathway to permanent housing in an effort to clear the Venice boardwalk. Bonin said it may take time to place the unhoused Venice residents into the permanent housing options, particularly through the voucher program, as the city must identify willing landlords and available units.
In the interim, temporary housing has been given, including up to six months of motel placements, which is the most commonly requested form of temporary housing, Bonin said.
Zone 3, between Dudley and Sunset avenues, will be cleared by July 23, while Zone 2, between Sunset and Park avenues, will be cleared by July 30.
The program's partners include People Assisting the Homeless; Safe Place for Youth; Venice Family Clinic; Self Help and Recovery Exchange; and CLARE Matrix.
Participating government agencies include the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority; the Public Health, Mental Health and Recreation & Parks departments; and the Bureau of Sanitation.
Outcry about the homelessness crisis in the area has been a factor in a recall effort begun against Bonin last month. The councilman contrasted his voluntary approach and offer of permanent housing for area's homeless population to that taken by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who sent deputies to Venice in June in an effort to clear the encampments.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers present on July 9 were supporting the Bureau of Sanitation's efforts, not conducting outreach or enforcement.