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Monthly Newsletter

The full scoop on our people, programs & progress!
Volume 3 Issue 1           
January 2013
In This Issue
Faces of VCH
Free Storage for Homeless
YouthBuild Retreat
Whole Foods Grab & Give
2013 Homeless Count
Mission Statement

The mission of Venice Community Housing is to preserve the economic, racial and social diversity of Venice and the surrounding area by maximizing affordable housing and economic development opportunities and providing needed social services to the area's low-income population.  
Fast Fact

A study to be published next month in the Journal of the American Medical Association  finds that drug overdoses are the leading cause of homeless deaths.

A Reuters article about the study can be accessed here
Faces of Venice  
Community Housing  
Carmen Navarro

Program Mananger,
Transitional Living Center 

I have been working for VCH and living in Venice for five years.


In my role as Program Manager I wear many hats. Most important is operating and managing the Transitional Living Center program, which offers housing to homeless mothers and their children. The goal of the center is to help moms and their children transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency within a two-year period.  


On a day-to-day basis, the job may require me to find resources, to be a cheerleader for someone who is having challenges in finding a job, to spend time with a child who is having problems with other children at the center, or to counsel someone who has recently been through a recent trauma. I enjoy every aspect of working at the Transitional Living Center; it is truly

rewarding and inspiring.


When I have time, I enjoy music from jazz to salsa. I also have participated in several renaissance fairs as a player/actor.

Wish List     

From linens to laptops, Venice Community Housing is always seeking donations for our residents and programs. Please visit our online wish list to see if you can meet any of our current needs!
Quick Links


Dear Friends,

In honor of the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we encourage you to reflect on what he called "life's most urgent, persistent question":

What are you doing for others?

In the last year Venice Community Housing has worked to provide permanent solutions to homelessness and poverty in Venice and the surrounding area, touching the lives of over 1,100 people through our housing, supportive services and education programs. We could not have achieved half of what we accomplished in 2012 without the support of individuals and community partners like you!

We urge you to identify how you will devote your time, talents and treasures on 2013 to what President Obama recently identified in his second inaugural address as "our generation's task - to make these words, these rights, these values - of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness - real for every American." 

Read on to learn about have we have jump-started our work in the New Year and for upcoming opportunities to support VCH and the people we serve! 
VCH launches pilot project to store property of Venice homeless 

In partnership with the City of Los Angeles and Council District 11, and with the support of the Venice Family Clinic, Occupy Venice and other Venice residents, Venice Community Housing has launched a pilot program to store the personal property of homeless people who wish to go to the City's winter shelter in West LA but have too many belongings to take with them to the facility.


The program, called Check-In Storage Venice, began on Saturday January 26th and will end on March 1 when the Winter Shelter program ends.   


The Winter Shelter, located at the West LA National Guard Armory, accommodates up to 160 people and provides guests with a hot meal, showers and bedding, as well as on-site case managers to connect guests with housing and social services. The shelter takes no walk-ins, only people who come by bus operated by the shelter operator, First to Serve.


Shelter guests are allowed to bring with them only personal property they can carry on their laps on the bus. Because of this limitation, many people who would like to go to the shelter are not able to because they would be forced to leave their personal property unattended.  


According to Kirk Tyler, supervisor of the Shelter program, there is room for another 25-30 people at the Armory every night, and First to Serve doesn't want any bed to go unused.


To assist the Check-In Storage program, The City has provided VCH with a 10'x30' storage container which has been placed next to the Police Substation on Venice Beach close by the shelter bus pick up point at Market and the Ocean Front Walk, along with 25 new rollaway trash bins to be assigned for safe storage.  


VCH will open the locked storage container daily for two hours between 3 and 5 p.m. to allow people the opportunity to check in and check out property from their assigned bins.  


"This has been a miserable winter so far, with a lot of rain and temperatures dropping into the 30s on many nights," said Steve Clare, Executive Director of VCH.    

"We hope this program will allow more people to get off the ground and out of the cold, at least until March 1st."  


"Although Check-In Storage is a narrowly focused pilot project, we intend to build on this experience and work toward creating a year-round voluntary storage program for unhoused residents of our community" said Clare.


Such a program already operates successfully downtown in Skid Row and in other nearby cities. The LA Times recently reported on a storage program in Costa Mesa that, although initially met with resistance, now has wide spread support. A link to that article can be found here.  


VCH appreciates and thanks the Venice Neighborhood Council for its support. Special thanks are due to City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who championed the program all the way and made it happen.


If you are interested in volunteering at the Storage program the next volunteer training session will take place Thursday, January 31st at 7 p.m. Contact Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Milliken to RSVP and for more details.  

Venice YouthBuild jumpstarts the New Year with a wintery retreat at Lake Arrowhead

Earlier this month 13 Venice YouthBuild students and the entire YouthBuild staff participated in a three-day retreat at Lake Arrowhead, focusing on structured bonding and skill-building workshops and enjoying some much-deserved downtime before returning from winter break to complete the final trimester of the program cycle.

The retreat was the second in a series of leadership development activities led by Fulcrum Leadership Institute. YouthBuild students completed a ropes course training in the fall and will participate in two follow-up workshops this spring.

Students' favorite workshops included personality analysis, a competition to build the largest tower out of paper and tape, and learning about the "Three P's to Success": People, Process and Performance.

A YouthBuild student and volunteer present at a leadership-development workshop while on retreat at Lake Arrowhead earlier this month. 

"We got a chance to learn and apply the principles that we learned in leadership and team-building activities," said Venice YouthBuild Director Omar Muhammad.

"It was a joy for me to see staff and participants play together and build stronger relationships."  
Attendees bunked in cabins and enjoyed a large, shared living space, complete with a fireplace, table games, and plenty of snow! Sledding at Snow Valley and a fierce snowball fight were many students' first-ever experiences with snow. 
Whole Foods Grab & Give holiday donations benefit hundreds of VCH residents and clients  
Every unit in our properties received a grocery bag full of Whole Foods products!
Venice Whole Foods' holiday Grab & Give Program was a smashing success, allowing Venice Community Housing to provide a bag full of groceries and hygiene products to every unit in our buildings - almost 200 in all! - and to participants in our YouthBuild and After School programs.

During the month of December Venice Whole Foods shoppers had the opportunity to make $5, $10 and $25 donations to provide VCH clients with hearty, organic food staples - including oatmeal, peanut butter, tuna, pasta, canned vegetables - as well as shampoo, shower gel and lotion. Palettes of items were picked up, sorted and packaged by Resident Services staff and distributed in late December and early January.

"This was a great resource because after the holidays is when many of the families we serve struggle," said After School Programs Director Bridgett Bell, who also oversees Resident Services projects.


A big Thank You! to Venice Whole Foods Marketing Supervisor Kelly Layne for selecting VCH as the recipient of the Grab & Give donations! We greatly appreciate Venice Whole Foods' continued support of low-income and undeserved people in our community. 
At our January staff meeting VCH honored Venice Whole Foods Marketing Supervisor Kelly Layne (center) for her commitment to the Venice community. 
Join VCH in rally against proposed Community Care Facilities Ordinance January 30th 

Venice Community Housing is among dozens of community groups and organizations officially opposing the Community Care Facilities Ordinance, scheduled to be heard by the Los Angeles City Council this Wednesday, January 30th at 10 a.m. downtown at City Hall.

According to the Corporation for Supportive Housing: "The CCFO would prohibit in all single family zones (over 85% of the residential area of the City) renting to four or more people in either a single residence or duplex."

In addition to violating state and federal law, the CCFO would harm Los Angeles residents by, among other things:
  • Banning renting to a family of four, even if the family includes young children
  • Increasing homelessness, as thousands of households would become illegal under the CCFO scheme
  • Exacerbating crime by restricting housing options for people on probation and parole, who are seven times more likely to commit another crime when homeless than housed 
Organizations in opposition to the ordinance will hold a rally starting around 8:30 a.m. outside City Hall in advance of the session start time.

Venice Community Housing is organizing a contingent to attend the rally and the Council meeting. If you would like to join us and if you need and/or can provide transportation to and from City Hall, please contact Steve Clare at (310) 573-8399. 

You can also help by calling or writing City Council members to voice your opposition to the ordinance.

Further information and updates on the Community Care Facilities Ordinance are available at
VeniceHomelessCountVolunteer for the 2013 L.A. Homeless Count! 
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013


Every two years the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) coordinates a County-wide homeless count. This count is done as a sample; LAHSA does not release detailed numbers for specific areas such as Venice.


This year Venice Community Housing is organizing a Complete Count of Venice so that we'll be able to get real, current data on the homeless population in our community and in turn ensure that our services reflect the true needs of the most vulnerable among us.  


While registration for our counting site is now full, there are other sites throughout Los Angeles that are still looking for volunteers. We encourage you participate by registering online at  

Until next month, 
Venice Community Housing
720 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
P: (310) 399-4100
F: (310) 399-1130