Area Councilman Proposes Plan to Help the Homeless in Venice

- Upscale Venice Beach is one of the areas of Los Angeles hit hardest by the homeless crisis. Now the city is looking at proposals to ease, if not eliminate, the issue of homeless people camping out everywhere. 

Venice Beach is an altered reality for locals and tourists alike. The reality that is getting worse is the number of homeless living in and around this bit of Bohemian Paradise. The makeshift encampments are particularly acute at the beach.  

Area Councilman Mike Bonin wants to take action.  He’s proposed four ideas to the City Council.

First, build more housing, over a parking lot owned by the city.  Second, open a vacant senior center for storage. Next, fund more outreach programs, and finally, keep the beach bathrooms open 24 hours, which is in direct contrast to the ‘‘beach curfew’’ from midnight to 5 am , that is rarely enforced anyway. 

Bonin says "the only thing worse than controversy is inaction.’‘  

Not everyone agrees, however.  Longtime resident and community activist Mark Ryavec says Bonin is acting like a ‘‘dictator’,’ even though there have been community meetings and plans for more.  “What they’re doing is outdated, old school, rather than focusing on programs that can get the homeless off the beach and the boardwalks now.’’ he says.  

Ryavek favors spending some of the money the City and County have now promised to lease large apartment complexes that are already built, as one example.  

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