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Temporary-housing shelter opens its doors in Venice

VENICE — A temporary-housing shelter providing 100 beds for homeless adults and 54 beds for youth opened Feb. 25 in the Venice area.

“The homeless and housing crisis is a citywide challenge that requires citywide solutions,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said during an opening ceremony for the Pacific Sunset A Bridge Home facility. “Today’s opening is a reminder that people across Los Angeles are saying ‘yes’ to delivering the housing, healing and hope our unhoused neighbors need and deserve.”

The Pacific Sunset site is the 10th A Bridge Home temporary housing facility to open in the city, bringing the total number of available beds in the program to 673, according to Councilman Mike Bonin’s office.

“To be successful, Pacific Sunset must be of and by Venice, and not just in it,” Bonin said. “That’s why I’m so grateful to our community partners and to all the neighbors who supported and pushed hard for this project, demanding solutions and insisting that Venice says ‘yes’ to them. This is a big and important step in our long march to confront our homelessness crisis.”

The A Bridge Home program is designed to provide homeless people with temporary, safe, secure housing and services, acting as a “bridge” to permanent housing.

Services for adults at Pacific Sunset will be operated by People Assisting the Homeless, and youth services will be coordinated by Safe Place for Youth. Both organizations have strong ties to the Venice community.

PATH helped house more than 100 people who were living in their vehicles in Venice and recently partnered with Los Angeles World Airports to serve and successfully house people living in large encampments near LAX. The organization operates transitional housing in West L.A. and provides permanent supportive housing at a building in Del Rey. 

SPY also has deep ties to the surrounding community and was founded in Venice and focuses its services in the area. SPY jointly operates bridge housing for youth at locations in Mar Vista and Westwood.

“Bridge housing is an important first step in the process of moving our most vulnerable into permanent supportive housing,” said Jennifer Hark-Dietz, executive director of PATH. “We are grateful for the partnership of Safe Place for Youth, local organizations and the support of Councilmember Bonin and Venice community members for helping us move people living on the streets into a safe home.” 

“I am filled with gratitude as we begin to welcome home the first residents of the Sunset Bridge site,” said Alison Hurst, executive director of Safe Place for Youth. “Since founding SPY almost a decade ago, our team of dedicated community volunteers and passionate staff have advocated strongly for an increase in youth specific services in Venice. Together with our partners at PATH we get to witness the resilient spirit of the 154 guests that will walk through our door and watch them thrive as they find safety off the streets.”

Bonin’s office said once the first 154 individuals are settled into the facility, community organizations and neighbors will begin working with PATH and SPY to host classes and other services to help people transition off the street.

The site features murals by local artists Patrick Marston, Michael Brunt and Francisco Letelier and will include a community garden that will be maintained by residents, with the assistance of the local organization Community Healing Gardens.

“This is a proud day for the Venice community,” said Will Hawkins, who helped champion Pacific Sunset when it was considered by the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee and who now leads the nonprofit organization Chamber of Hope. “We’ve shown the city and the world how everyday citizens can step up and champion innovative and empathetic solutions that reduce homelessness and save lives.” 

According to the mayor’s office, the city is on schedule to build 26 A Bridge Home sites, providing about 2,000 beds by July 1. Pacific Sunset is the first A Bridge Home site to be partially dedicated to serving young people experiencing homelessness.

Wave Staff and Wire Reports