logoVenice Community Housing
Monthly Newsletter

The full scoop on our people, programs & progress
Volume 3 Issue 10                  
November 2013
In This Issue
Faces of VCH
Community Spotlight
Celebrating Success
YouthBuild CA Alumni
Study Lounge Reading
Upcoming Opportunities
New Arrivals
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

One in six Americans lives in a household that cannot afford adequate food.
One third of them are children.
- International Human Rights Clinic:Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States (New York: NYU School of Law, 2013)
Faces of Venice  
Community Housing  
Lucia Mendez
Program Assistant, Westminster TLC 

Five years ago I was homeless, living in a car with my two children. We came to Westminster Transitional Living Center, and it was heaven for us! After completing the TLC program we moved into an apartment in one of VCH's buildings, where we've lived for the past three years.

I see my role as Program Assistant as a way of saying "Thank You" for everything I got from Westminster TLC and Venice Community Housing.

My primary responsibilities as Program Assistant are organizing activities for the children living at TLC, coordinating the volunteers who work with the kids, keeping an inventory of food and supplies, and ensuring that all the units are kept clean and safe.

I am so grateful that a place like Westminster TLC exists. It gives me such joy to work here in the community where I grew up and where I am now raising my children.
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

Spotlight on Community:

Thad's offers free laundry service to people in need
People who have trouble affording laundry have a new opportunity to get their clothes clean  - completely free of charge.

On 11/25 from 7:30 - 10 p.m. Thad's will host its third "Laundry Love Venice" at Venice Beach Laundry, located at 241 Lincoln Blvd.

Participants bring their clothes, and Thad's supplies the quarters, detergent and dryer sheets.

Laundry Love Venice will continue to take place on the last Monday of every month.

If you or someone you know is in need of laundry assistance, or if you'd like to support Laundry Love Venice, visit www.thads.org for more information. 
thanksgiving-corn-banner.jpg Dear Friends, 

On November 28th we will gather around tables with our loved ones, express thanks and gratitude, and share a bountiful Thanksgiving meal.

We want to ensure that those who are less fortunate - including our low-income tenants -  are able to enjoy that same experience. Although successfully housed, many of our tenants are still overwhelmed by the extraordinary costs of living, including the most basic of necessities: food.

VCH aims to provide year-round food assistance, but we feel particularly called upon during the holiday season to ensure that the people we serve are food-secure.

We are thrilled to be partnering with LivnGiv this holiday season to raise funds to buy groceries for the families living in our buildings, and we are counting on YOU to support one or more of our upcoming food, toy or gift card drives.

Read on for the latest news from VCH and for details on how you can support us during the holidays! 
LivnGiv wants you to "dine like you give a darn"
We are proud to announce our partnership with LivnGiv, whose mission is to bring together nonprofits and local restaurants to reinforce the fabric of communities.

LivnGiv operates a crowdfunding web site that markets local "Causes" and offers you the chance to support those Causes by purchasing gift certificates to participating local restaurants (Venice-based Gjelina, Oscar's Cerveteca and Hostaria Del Piccolo among them!) Twenty percent of the proceeds from your purchases will go directly to your Cause.

Our initial campaign on LivnGiv will focus on feeding hungry families that we serve.Our goal is to raise $2,000 to provide 80 families with a bag of groceries during the holidays.

Click HERE to learn more about our campaign and how get started on LivnGiv!
Tenant, volunteers honored at Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition's Celebrating Success Breakfast
Check out Santa Monica Mirror's coverage of the 18th Annual Celebrating Success Breakfast here

Unemployment. Domestic violence. Mental illness. Substance abuse.There are any number of reasons why someone may become homeless, and as any of the 24 formerly homeless individuals honored at the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition's 18th annual Celebrating Success Breakfast will tell you, homelessness can happen to anyone.

Incredible willpower and the support of Westside service providers, businesses and faith communities allowed these individuals to transition out of homelessness and
 onto paths to stability and opportunity. The Celebrating Success Breakfast, held October 25th at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, was an opportunity for agencies to recognize those individuals.

This year VCH nominated Ronald McKinley, a tenant in our Horizon Apartments who was formerly chronically homeless and struggling with addiction, unemployment and health issues. With the help of VCH and a network of other Westside agencies, Ronald lives his life once again with dignity.     

"Although I have now been housed for two years, I am just beginning to accept that this truly is my apartment, my home," Ronald says.

"Recently I began playing music again and have been writing columns and poetry for The Venice Beachhead."

Also recognized at the Breakfast were individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to improving the health and well-being of the most vulnerable populations living on Los Angeles' Westside.

Among the Community Partner Award recipients were VCH Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator, Barbara Milliken, and volunteers Gina Maslow and Mike Lindley, who were honored for their efforts on our pilot Check-In Storage program, which provided dozens of homeless people in Venice with a safe, secure place to store their belongings while participating in the City's Winter Shelter Program last year.

Four generations of Venice YouthBuild alumni attend first annual California Alumni XChange

Graduates of Venice YouthBuild turned out in strong numbers for the first annual California YouthBuild Alumni XChange conference November 8-10.

The conference was an opportunity for graduates of YouthBuild programs statewide to come together for personal and professional development, movement building, networking, and to help lift the voice of YouthBuild graduates in California.
Venice YouthBuild Cycle 11 graduate Daniel Johnson, who was elected President of the YouthBuild California State Alumni Council in October, shared this report on the conference:

"The theme of the conference was 'Celebrating 35 Years of Youth Struggles and Triumphs: Embracing the Past and Moving Forward.'"

Venice YouthBuild graduates Leslie Lopez and Daniel Johnson 
"I co-lead a workshop titled Stay Engaged, Get Involved! Alumni shared their stories, and we explored more pathways to leadership development, stressed the importance of networking, and about how to develop your personal brand using social media."

"A number of other Venice YouthBuild alumni were elected to positions on the Council, including Cycle 10 graduate Lorenzo Valencia, who was elected as Secretary, Cycle 11 graduates Aaron Holt and Erica Petit, who were elected as alternates, and Cycle 11 graduate Christopher Gonzalez and Cycle 10 graduate Leslie Lopez, who were elected to the general Council."  
Graduates from four cycles of Venice YouthBuild attended the California YouthBuild Alumni XChange conference 
Study Lounge focuses on improving students' reading skills and habits

Parents and guardians of the elementary school students who attend Study Lounge at Washington Courts frequently identified reading as an area of growth for their children during goal-setting meetings at the start of the academic year.

 In response, Study Lounge coordinators have set up a reading library at Washington Courts with books organized by grade level, and they have created  reading logs for each student to track what books they are reading and how many minutes they read each week.  

Books in the reading library at Washington Courts are now organized by grade level to facilitate appropriate book selection by Study Lounge students
"Our initial goal is to have the kids read for 15 minutes each week," said Family and Community Services Director Bridgett Bell.   

Study Lounge monitors students' reading through the use of reading logs and tracking charts like the one pictured here.
"When they've completed their 15 minutes, they can check off the day they read on a chart we have posted on the wall, and their tutors will sign and date the chart. Some students are already reading more than 15 minutes. Others are still developing the habit of reading, and we'll have to re-asses with their parents at the end of the semester to see if we have to adjust our methods."

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 accom

pany being housed, and food support is a year-round need. 


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 and the week before Christmas.

Food items can be dropped off at our main office Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between now and December 16th.


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 December 12th, 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.  


It's a boy! And a girl! 

Congratulations to Maintenance Supervisor Clarence Dorsey, who became the proud father of Clarence, Jr. on September 15th, and to Controller Priscilla Smith, who became a doting grandma to Zoe on October 25th!


Until next month, 



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