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Housing Crisis in Venice, CA. — Poster of the Week

Updated: Sep 14, 2023


Monument to the Death of Art and Life in Venice

Carlos Callejo, Venice City Council

Silkscreen, Circa late 1970s

Venice, CA

942


Few cities have experienced as many major transformations and re-envisionings as Venice, California. It has had many booms and busts since founded in 1906 as an amusement park. It was also one of the few communities on the Westside of Los Angeles where Black families could own property. From the 1950s through the 70s, many poets, artists, musicians, political activists, and students settled there; rent was cheap, the air was cleaner, and as a result communities of like-minded people formed. By the 1960s it was often called the “slum by the beach.” Now, it is too often called “Silicon Beach” in reference to the many tech companies that have moved in over the past 15 yearsa moniker that erases its history as a diverse, eccentric, and welcoming community.


Gentrification accelerated in the 1970sCSPG’s Poster of the Week was part of the

community’s efforts to preserve affordable housing at that time. The community continues to fight back.


In 1988, community activists created Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH), a nonprofit tasked to protect and increase affordable housing in Venice and surrounding neighborhoods.


The developing housing crisis accelerated citywide. As rents increased, so did homelessness. In 2016, the City of Los Angeles decided to commit vacant City owned property to affordable housing and selected VCH and Hollywood Community Housing Corporation to develop affordable housing on the Venice Blvd parking lot between Pacific and Dell Avenues.


The site for the project is on nearly three acres of city-owned beach parking lots, near the Venice canals. The Venice Dell Project, would include 140 units of affordable housing, small retail shops, a parking garage, and a community arts center.


Since the start of the project in 2016, developers have obtained necessary zoning permits, designed and proposed building plans, met with community members at public hearings, and made necessary building changes to move the project forward. They have even acquired necessary funding from the city, federal housing rental vouchers, and a portion of the Los Angeles County Measure H revenue.


This past April, Los Angeles city officials dodged meetings with developers, paused approval of relocation efforts for tenants living on the city-owned site. All this happened under the direction of the city attorney, Hydee Feldstein Soto, who, along with recently elected City Council member, Traci Park, is slowing this project in direct opposition to Mayor Karen Bass’s commitment to accelerate the building of affordable housing on city-owned land.

These delays could not come at a worse time–LA’s homelessness population has grown to 75,518 people, and on average two thousand unhoused people die a year. Affordable housing is essential to prevent these numbers from growing, especially in a city where 54% of Los Angeles County residents are renters, and over half of these people are rent-burdened. Moreover, this past March, L.A. County’s eviction moratorium expired, marking the end of the pandemic-era eviction protections for renters across the county.


Fortunately, these delays may be ending. A recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times (Sunday July 30) blasted the city for slow-walking the project and community pressure is ramping up. Your letters, emails and phone calls can help move this project forward.


Please put “I support Venice Dell Community” in subject.


Mayor.bass@lacity.org (Karen Bass, Mayor of L.A.)

Mercedes.marquez@lacity.org (Mercedes Marquez, Chief of housing and homelessness)

Hydee.feldsteinsoto@lacity.org (Hydee Feldstein Soto, Los Angeles City Attorney)

Traci.park@lacity.org (Traci Park, L.A. City Council representing Venice)

 

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