Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedIn
logoVenice Community Housing
Monthly Newsletter

The full scoop on our people, programs & progress!
Volume 3 Issue 5              
May 2013
In This Issue
Faces of VCH
Wish List
Steve Clare: No OPDs
Housing Dept Updates
Mark Your Calendar
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

Safe Place for Youth (SPY), a volunteer-based homeless youth outreach program in Venice, estimates that  some 15,000

homeless youth ages 17-25 reside in Los Angeles at this time. About 80% of them are unsheltered each night.   


In 2012, SPY served over 900 unduplicated homeless youth at its Venice drop-in center, providing food, clothing, counseling and support services, and other emergency services, but stresses that the needs of this population far exceed the current services available.  

Faces of Venice  
Community Housing  
Marlies Kovenock
Development Associate
I have worked at VCH for almost five years, from 2006 to 2011 and again part-time beginning in March of this year.

My current role is to support the Development Department with grant-writing and donor outreach.

My favorite part about working at VCH is the people. The people who participate in our programs and those who help as donors, volunteers and staff are simply the best. It's such a joy to be a part of a community of people helping one another.

At the end of the summer I will be moving to Seattle to begin a Ph.D. program in Biology at the University of Washington. I will miss Los Angeles, but I'm excited for the next stage of my journey!
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, 

The articles in this month's newsletter highlight individuals and groups who are "raising the bar," from our Masters of Social Work graduate interns soliciting record levels of  community support to our Housing Department embracing a "new standard" of upkeep and aesthetics for our buildings.

Be sure to scroll down to our upcoming events, which include a Venice YouthBuild art show on May 31st as well as a save-the-date for our annual Jazz at Palms Court Champagne Brunch in September!

A message from Executive Director Steve Clare: No Overnight Parking Districts in Venice - Protect public access to Venice Beach! 

Steve HeadshotWhen Abbot Kinney built Venice, he dubbed its beach "the People's Beach." It has lived up to that name, with an estimated 16,000,000 visitors annually, including a significant number of homeless people who camp on and about the beach or live in their vehicles.


As the neighborhood gentrified demands to privatize the beach and eliminate its unsavory elements increased, and the City cooperated, first by closing the Venice beach parking lots (981 spaces) at night and closing the beach itself from midnight to 5 a.m. in 1989. In 2010 the City began posting No Parking signs for "oversized vehicles" from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m., which now cover 110 blocks in the Venice Coastal Zone. Last year the City extended that beach curfew to the Venice Boardwalk. All of these measures were taken without California Coastal Commission approval (as required by the California Coastal Act) and some notwithstanding specific notice from the CCC that the City's actions required a Coastal Development Permit (CDP).


In 2009, the City of Los Angeles did apply for a CDP to create several Overnight Parking Districts (OPD's) in the Venice Coastal zone which would prohibit nonresident parking on most streets in the Coastal Zone between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. This application was opposed by Venice Community Housing and many other community organizations, local leaders and progressive legal organizations including the ACLU, Public Counsel and the National Lawyers Guild. After a long and spirited public hearing where scores of Venice residents and legal advocates testified in opposition, the Coastal Commission voted 12-0 to deny the permit. (Click here for more information about our reasons for opposing an OPD for Venice).


A small group of Venice residents calling themselves the Venice Stakeholders Association filed a lawsuit against the Coastal Commission claiming, among other things, that the Coastal Commission had no jurisdiction over parking issues in the Coastal Zone. At District 11 City Council Representative Bill Rosendahl's urging, the City Attorney joined the lawsuit against the CCC.


The parties and the Coastal Commission staff soon after entered into a settlement agreement and the City filed an amended application which was heard by the Coastal Commission in 2010. Again, the Commission denied the application and the Venice Stakeholders filed an amended Petition to continue their lawsuit.   Again the parties proposed settlement terms substantially similar to those previously rejected by the Coastal Commission, and that proposal is set to be heard at the June meeting of the Commission in Long Beach. We are particularly concerned at this time because only 2 of the 12 Commissioners that denied the previous applications remain on the Commission.


Until now we have approached the fight for public access primarily as a local contest between Venice residents who want to drive out homeless people and privatize the beach, and those who want to keep Venice an inclusive community that is welcoming to everyone. But we understand and need to underscore that the people with the biggest stake in this fight are those at whom the restrictions are aimed and who will be shut out if the City is successful - underserved communities from all over Los Angeles.  


OPD advocates will have their attorneys and the weight of the City and Coastal Commission staff's recommendations in support of OPDs. We need to bring hundreds of OPD opponents to the hearing to safeguard the People's Beach. We urge you to join in!


Come to the No OPD rally on June 1, from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. at Beyond Baroque.  



Write a letter to the California Coastal Commission and email it to  


Come to the June California Coastal Commission meeting and demonstrate your opposition.   The meeting lasts 3 days, June 12-14. However the CCC agenda has not yet been published so we do not yet know which day the OPD application will be considered. Please call 310-573-8411 after June 1 for exact date and time of the OPD hearing and information about free transportation to and from the hearing.  

Max Harris
Max Harris, Director of Asset Management
VCH's Housing Department focuses on unit upgrades, operations effeciency in 2013
This year our Housing, Maintenance and Property Management Departments are dedicating their energies to making physical improvements to our housing properties as well as streamlining their operations. We sat down with Director of Asset Management Max Harris to get an update on their progress:


Interior of one of VCH's newly-rehabbed studio apartments 
"We are embracing a new standard for our  housing. As units turn over, we are providing needed rehabilitation as well as aesthetic improvements, including replacing vinyl floors with ceramic tile, refinishing existing wood floors or installing environmentally-friendly flooring, adding ceiling fans, and refinishing walls. Our Maintenance team, under the management of Maintenance Supervisor Clarence Dorsey, has done a phenomenal job with making these improvements."


"All properties in need of new roofs are getting them, including VCH's Pacific Apartments, where we will install 50-year shingles as well as solar panels."  


"We have partnered with the Department of Water and
A brand new kitchenette in one of our studio apartments!
Power to identify all refrigerators in our units that are over 10 years old, with the goal of replacing all of them by the end of the summer."

"We recently welcomed Iisha Jones to our team as Resident Manager at Navy Apartments and Property Management Assistant. Iisha's responsibilities include data management, coordinating compliance and monitoring, communicating with tenants, and developing a database that will allow us to efficiently and effectively manage the extensive wait list for our housing. We are very fortunate to have her on board!" 

Congratulations, Grad!
James Ramirez We are thrilled to announce that our Resident Services Manager, James Ramirez, graduated with his Masters in Social Work from California State University,  Dominguez Hills on May 17th! James continued working full time at VCH while earning his degree; we are so proud of his tireless efforts to support his clients and to further develop his expertise.

Thank you and farewell, interns!

VCH would like to thank Toby Barron, Diana Garber and Charlotte Wickham for their hard work and lasting impact in our Resident Services and Venice YouthBuild programs this year.

Charlotte is a first-year MSW Graduate Intern from the UCLA School of Social Welfare. She provided therapy and case management services to individual VCH residents. She also assisted with resident meetings and advocated for additional outside resources for residents, such as affordable dental services. She has been a great addition to the work and resources of the agency. 


Toby and Diana have been working with our Venice YouthBuild students throughout the year, providing case management services, life skills classes, leadership training, and academic and personal development support. 


Toby Barron, MSW Intern, CA State University, Dominguez Hills

To encourage students' personal development and community involvement, Toby coordinated and facilitated the "Afternoon Avengers, arranging activities such as baking classes, yoga, origami, driver's education, and community volunteering.  


Diana led Venice YouthBuild's substance support group, the "MAC" ("Making A Change") group. She has done an exceptional job at engaging youth in this dynamic behavior and self-awareness modification group. Diana also channeled her past experience as a lawyer to develop and conduct a comprehensive "Know Your Rights" interactive workshop with the YouthBuild students. Certainly, Diana's resilient and creative work with this group has assisted the Venice YouthBuild program participants to thoughtfully manage their behaviors in more positive ways.


Diana Garber, MSW Intern, UCLA 


We thank Charlotte, Toby and Diana for all their work as advocates and counselors. We wish them the best in their future endeavors!

Baby boy on the way!
Congratulations to Venice YouthBuild teacher, Sarah Wakasa, who is expecting her first child in June! YouthBuild students and VCH staff recently threw Sarah a surprise baby shower. We are excited to meet the newest member of the Venice Community Housing family!
Mark Your Calendar!

2nd Annual Venice YouthBuild Art Show 
Friday May 31st
6 - 9 p.m.

The Focus Studio
4 Rose Avenue, Venice

Venice YouthBuild students are pleased to present their second annual art exhibition and fundraiser. 

Last year the art show raised over $2,500 for Venice YouthBuild. Proceeds from this year's event  will support students' senior trip prior to their June 28th graduation ceremony.

After School Programs Summer Camp

Weekdays, June 24th - August 22nd, 1-5 p.m.

Washington Courts
12525 Washington Place, Los Angeles, 90066

A free summer program for children ages 6-12, offering academic enrichment and recreation activities in the Venice area.

A completed application, CST scores and most recent report card are required.

To apply, contact After School Programs Site Coordinator, Chela Vallejo: (310) 584-7647 or

YouthBuild Graduation Ceremony 
Friday June 28th, 4 p.m.
Hotel MdR by Doubletree
13480 Maxella Ave.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Participants in Venice YouthBuild's 11th cycle will celebrate a year of academic, professional and personal achievement.

To attend please contact Marisol Perez: (310) 573-8415 or

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Development Director Myrna Pappas for more information: (310) 573-8407 or

Jazz at Palms Court 
Sunday September 15th
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
743 Palms Blvd., Venice

Join us for our 21st annual jazz brunch fundraiser!

Ticketing information to come this summer. Please visit for the latest updates!

For individual and corporate sponsorship opportunities contact Development Director Myrna Pappas:
(310) 573-8407 or
Thank you to those of you who contributed to our Mother's Day campaign. Your generous donations will support the mothers and children at our Transitional Living Center!

Until next month, 



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