I ask you to do something very hard — give the benefit of the doubt to our city on this one: Will you please come to our next Homeless Committee (of Venice Neighborhood Council) meeting for which I am a member? I’m looking for support for the Bridge Home project. Even if you are just open and curious and not yet convinced, I’d love to have you there to provide some balance in the room!
The most passionately angry are receiving false information from a “certain individual” and as a result, we are getting a barrage of negative energy that is really difficult for me to manage (emotionally)!
This Bridge Home program fulfills all the requirements for a sane response to our homeless crisis. It won’t end homelessness in Venice, but it will definitely help. And it should be given a chance.
From going to one meeting about it with our city representatives, I believe the following to be true.
FACT: The metro owns the yard and won’t be able to build on it for another 3 years (what exactly they are building is not known to me – I think multi-use housing but I truly don’t know).
FACT: In the meantime, 100 or so folks who are 100% FROM VENICE and who WANT HELP will be carefully selected and housed in trailers, and/or tents and will receive all kinds of services and security until they are transitioned into permanent housing.
FACT: Some unhoused folks don’t want to go into shelters. For some it is because (among many other reasons) they have to move out each morning and come back each evening; they can’t bring pets or family members; they don’t feel safe, and they can’t store their stuff. They also can’t stay very long. This program can allow all of this because it doesn’t fall under “transitional housing” or temporary shelter. At least something viable will be attempted, and I support all solutions that have promise.
FACT: Rather than fearing the worst, let’s focus on those folks who will really benefit from this. Newly homeless, vets, women, children, formerly foster youth, the elderly, non-violent people just down on their luck, and yes, some with disabilities including mental illness, who won’t deteriorate further by living on the streets. The city wants this to work so they will choose those most likely to benefit from it – those who have already requested housing (on the CES master list) and yet — since we don’t have the housing stock needed for them to get off the streets — they remain there.