Woman seen paddling on Venice Canals sparks concern from area residents
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - Residents along the Venice Canals were stunned to see someone paddling on a covered barge that looked like a makeshift home.
A video was posted to Instagram and the police started to get phone calls.
Fox 11's Susan Hirasuna met a 49-year-old woman on the barge who claims this is not her home. Rebecca Dannenbaum claims she lives in an RV nearby, but she made this barge to store expensive generators that she uses to charge scooters with two others. It's what she calls her livelihood.
Dannenbaum says the barge is made up of salvaged wood and part of a discarded dock. She used to store her possessions in the tunnels under the Venice Boulevard bridge, but those got locked off. You might call her solution creative, but residents call it more evidence of the homeless taking over.
"Change the current situation so it doesn't become a spectacle in Venice I think it's about time," said Harris Jaffe.
Reta Moser, the author of the blog VeniceUpdate.com said, "As far as I'm concerned they're breaking the law big time."
Los Angeles Police Captain Brian Morrison reached out to other city departments to figure out what could be done. Police could step in if it's clear she's living here but that doesn't mean immediate action due to the rules surrounding homeless people.
LAPD is waiting for the city's watershed expert to determine if the barge is a threat to the ecosystem of the canals and the ocean beyond.
"If it's an environmental issue, it basically trumps everything. Because right now, it's less a law enforcement issue than it is a bureau of street services or sanitation issue," said Morrison.
Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, the sanitation department's watershed expert arrived to check out the barge. That's a welcome sight for residents who don't want barges to become as common as homeless tents in Venice.