Bass launches 'Inside Safe' initiative in Venice

A program by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass that aims to provide housing for people living in homeless encampments launched in Venice on Wednesday.

The program, called the Inside Safe Initiative, initially began in Hollywood at encampments near Cahuenga and the 101 Freeway.

It will work to identify the "highest need encampments" that have a chronic and high demand for services, according to an executive directive signed by Bass last month. 

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Using citywide coordination between various departments and agencies, the action plan calls for identifying interim housing and eventually permanent housing resources for each person living in the encampments.

According to Bass and Councilwoman Traci Park -- who represents Venice -- people living in encampments near the intersection of Sunset and Pacific avenues have accepted housing following outreach, but they did not specify how many people.

"I’m proud to be locking arms with Councilwoman Park to change the way we approach homelessness in Los Angeles to bring people inside in a strategic and lasting way," said Mayor Bass. "Councilwoman Park and I spent yesterday morning conducting outreach with encampment residents and meeting with service providers and local residents about how Inside Safe replaces quick fixes with real solutions. It’s important that the policy solutions developed are informed by the people most directly affected. Through Inside Safe, we will save lives and restore our neighborhoods."

Bass’ Inside Safe Executive Directive calls for the Inside Safe Action Plan to be developed by March 31, 2023.

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Its five goals are:

  • Reduce the loss of life on our streets
  • Increase access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for those living in encampments
  • Eliminate street encampments
  • Promote long-term housing stability for people experiencing homelessness
  • Enhance the safety and hygiene of neighborhoods for all residents, businesses, and neighbors

Bass' emergency declaration on homelessness -- which is scheduled to last six months -- allows her to take more aggressive executive actions to confront the homelessness crisis, though the City Council will have to sign off on it every 30 days.

City News Service contributed to this report.