logoVenice Community Housing
Monthly Newsletter

The full scoop on our people, programs & progress
Volume 3 Issue 9                 
September/October 2013
In This Issue
Faces of VCH
Jazz at Palms Court
Venice YouthBuild
Study Lounge
Young Professionals Mixer
Toiletry Drive
Upcoming Opportunities
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

In accordance with the 2010 Affordable Care Act, California has set up its own marketplace for people without health insurance to buy coverage.

On October 1st, Covered California began enrolling eligible Californians for health insurance.

By 2014, about 2.6 million California residents will be able to access financial assistance through Covered California
to pay for their health insurance, and 1.4 million will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal.

For more information visit
Faces of Venice  
Community Housing  
Guillermo Buenrostro
Venice YouthBuild Sr. Construction Trainer
My role in Venice YouthBuild is to teach construction skills and safety to our students, as well as supervise them on construction training sites.

I enjoy seeing our students develop confidence and interest in construction over the course of the program. Many of them come in having never used a hammer before, and by the end of the program they're framing houses, completing carpentry projects and earning certifications that will allow them to pursue careers in construction and similar fields.

As a Los Angeles native and a graduate of the Youth Employment Systems YouthBuild program, I feel fortunate to now be in a position to encourage L.A. youth to work hard and give back to their community.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my daughter, working on cars, and rooting for the USC Trojans.
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

red-fall-leaves-banner.jpg Dear Friends, 

Like many of you, we have been monitoring the fiscal impasse in Congress over the past few weeks, and we are thankful that a full government shutdown and debt default crisis was averted yesterday. The long term effects of the fiscal crisis on our nation, and how it may affect our agency and our community, remain unclear. 

Venice Community Housing, our clients and tenants have been fortunate during the Shutdown. Section 8 and Shelter Plus Care rent subsidies continued to be paid. Federal support for our Youthbuild Program and our transitional housing facility for formerly homeless women and children continued, as the funds had already been appropriated for those programs. The Cal Fresh (food stamps) program continued to operate, although the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may not have provided food vouchers after October.


Although the impact of these events weighs on our minds, we continue on with our work and are deeply grateful for the continued engagement of supporters like you in our mission. It is your contribution of time, talents and treasures that have allowed us to serve the Venice community for 25 years and to continue to develop solutions to homelessness and poverty today.


Read on for stories on our staff, students, and supporters engaging in the community and for further opportunities to engage with us as we approach the holiday season. 
Jazz at Palms Court is a swinging success

Our 21st annual Jazz at Palms Court Champagne Brunch on September 15th raised over $80,000 in support of Venice Community Housing!

Guests enjoyed a gourmet brunch spread, live music performed by jazz quartet House of Games, speeches by VCH resident Ronald McKinley and students from our After School Programs, and a silent auction. The event was a true celebration of VCH and the people who have supported our mission over the past 25 years. 

VCH Board Chair, Marie Kennedy, with two of our extraordinary Jazz volunteers, Venice YouthBuild alumni Daniel Johnson and Carmen Cotton 

Thank you to our sponsors, guests, volunteers, and community partners who contributed to the success of Jazz at Palms Court!   
An After School Programs student talks about the impact of Study Lounge on her success in school.
Brunch guest Michelle Blackmon was the winning bidder on an electric scooter!

Jazz quartet House of Games, featuring Scott Hiltzik (keyboard), Chris Colangelo (bass), Brad Rabuchin (guitar), and Dave Tull (drums) 
Venice YouthBuild launches 2013-2014 program

The twelfth cycle of Venice YouthBuild launched in September, welcoming a class of 34 young men and women.

Cycle 12 students have already proven their mettle by completing a three-week orientation and evaluation period called Mental Toughness.

"During Mental Toughness our staff leads and observes potential Venice YouthBuild candidates in challenging activities," says Venice YouthBuild Director, Omar Muhammad. "We use this time to make pre-selection observations about the willingness and determination of the participants to complete the YouthBuild program.

One of the culminating activities of Mental Toughness was Venice YouthBuild's participation in Heal The Bay's 24th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day  on September 21st.

Venice YouthBuild students and staff at Heal The Bay's California Coastal Cleanup on September 21st.   

Venice YouthBuild students and staff were among 11,000 Angelenos that removed 24,000 pounds of ocean-bound trash along the coastline.

Community service is a key element of the Venice YouthBuild program, with students participating in service and leadership development projects on a weekly basis. We are proud to have our new class of Venice YouthBuild students representing us in the community!
Study Lounge enlists support of families in students' path to academic success

Since the start of the 2013-2014 school year, After School Study Lounge staff have been focused on engaging the families of their students in their academic growth. To that end, they have been meeting individually with each participating student's parents/guardians to establish a plan for keeping their kids on track at school this year, using reports cards and teacher comments from the end of the prior school year as a starting point.

"The parents have been very excited about having these meetings with us - they are very invested in their children's success," said Study Lounge Coordinator, Kathy Sanchez. "We've set up goals for students such as improving handwriting, building addition/subtraction skills, practicing reading in English, and improving spelling." 

As the school year continues, Study Lounge staff members plan to revisit students' goals with parents/guardians following each grading period and to encourage a collaborative relationship between families and teachers to ensure students' continued success.  
Young Professionals Board hosts Sunset Mixer
Venice is home to many young professionals who are eager to support their community but unsure about how to get involved.

On Thursday October 3rd our Young Professionals Board invited young people living and working in Venice to the rooftop of Hotel Erwin to mingle with VCH staff and client representatives and  to learn about ways to support their community through engaging with our agency.

Many thanks to the Young Professionals Board for organizing this fun, informative event!  
High school senior coordinates toiletry drive 

Venice Community Housing was the grateful beneficiary of over 20 bags of toothbrushes, soap and other personal hygiene items, thanks to the efforts of Ricki Robinson.

Ricki, a high school senior at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, serves as Vice President of the Social Action Committee of Northern American Federation for Temple Youth (NFTY) - Southern California Chapter.

Riki coordinated the a toiletry drive at NFTY's recent Leadership Training Institute. Over 300 high school youth from across Southern California attended and were asked to donate toiletries/personal hygiene items. These items will be available to our clients at our monthly donation center.  


Next fall Ricki will attend Pitzer College, where she intends to study Social Justice. We applaud her efforts to support individuals in need.  

Ricki Robinson and Director of Programs, Tim Sweeney


Upcoming Events and Opportunities 
*New* - Take a Tour of Venice 

Learn about VCH's history and current efforts during a ride-along tour with our founding Executive Director, Steve Clare! This unique introduction to VCH is ideal for individuals who are new to the area and/or want to learn more about our agency.

Tours will be held the third Wednesday of every month, or by appointment.

To RSVP for a tour contact Linda Lucks:
(310) 526-3857 or llucks@vchcorp.org.  

Experience Giving: Contribute to VCH's holiday food and toy drives 

The holidays can be a difficult time for the people we serve. As we approach the holiday season, Venice Community Housing is seeking donations of food, toys and gift cards for our residents, unhoused clients, and the children and youth in our programs. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.  


Provide meal supplies for our residents:

Venice Community Housing houses over 500 low-income people. Although successfully housed, our residents are often challenged with meeting the everyday needs that accompany being housed, and food support is a year-round need as they continue to work towards personal and economic stability for themselves and teir families. 


We are seeking donations of shelf-stable food items or  grocery store gift cards so that we can provide a food basket to each of our families the week of Thanksgiving as well as serve a Thanksgiving dinner to about 65 homeless and formerly homeless individuals.

Food items can be dropped off at our main office Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Donate to our holiday toy and gift card drive: 

Venice Community Housing will serve over 250 disadvantaged children and youth this year. We are seeking donations of toys and gift cards for the approximately 120 children 130 teenagers living in our buildings and/or participating in our After School Programs and Venice YouthBuild program this holiday season.


New, unwrapped toys and gift cards can be dropped off at our main office between now and mid-December during regular business hours.  


Go The Extra Mile: Organize a food or toy drive
We are seeking community partners who are able to host a food or toy drive at their business, school, or place of worship. 


For more information, contact Graciela (Chela) Vallejo at (310) 584-7647 or chela@vchcorp.org.  


Until next month, 



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