Venice Community Housing

Monthly Newsletter   
The full scoop on our people, programs & progress
Volume 4 Issue 7                          
July 2014
YouthBuild Recruitment
Grants Announcement
Thank You, Feed!
Free Storage Venice
Sleeping Bag Fundraiser
YouthBuild Graduation
Capital Improvements
Summer Camp Photos
Volunteer Corner
Venice Arts Council
Jazz at Palms Court
Venice YouthBuild recruiting its 2014-2015 class  

Venice YouthBuild is currently accepting applications for its 2014-2015 cycle, scheduled to begin in August.

Information sessions for prospective applicants are being held at 720 Rose Avenue on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Please circulate the
flyer and application (links below) to any students, families or agencies that may be interested!
Grants Announcement 

We are pleased to announce that the Orange County Community Foundation has awarded Venice Community Housing with a $40,000 grant in support of our work. We are deeply grateful for OCCF's continued support!

We are also thrilled to announce the continued support of The Green Foundation, which has provided VCH with a $35,000 grant in support of our mission. 
NPR gives Free Storage Venice National Exposure

National Public Radio journalist Kelly McEvers is interested in exploring economic disparity in Venice and the Free Storage Venice program in particular.


FSV volunteer Mike Lindley explains storage procedures at the Venice Beach container to Kelly McEvers (Photo: Jack Prichett)


McEvers, a new Venice resident, asked Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Milliken, to facilitate interviews with Free Storage Venice administrators, volunteers, and clients and to visit the facility.

is planning follow-up inquiries and interviews about FSV. 


Her initial piece, "At Venice Beach, Rich, Poor, and Middle Class Coexist", aired  July 13 at 5 p.m. on KPCC. The next installment is tentatively scheduled to air Saturday, July 19, at 5 p.m. 

Kelly McEvers interviews a FSV client (Photo: Jack Prichett) 


With 30 million listeners, VCH and FSV will get national exposure. We hope you're able to tune in!  


Thank You, Feed! 

Feed Restaurant on Venice's famed Abbot Kinney Blvd. hosted a Martini Monday benefiting VCH on June 23rd.

Feed generously contributed 10% of all food and drink sales from that day to VCH.
From left: Feed owner Robert Staats, VCH Executive Director Steve Clare, and chef David Wolfe 
Many of our Board Members and Young Professionals Board Members attended the event and couldn't get enough of the handcrafted cocktails and the fresh, wholesome creations by longtime Venice chef David Wolfe.

We'll be back for another round soon! 
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.  
Take a Tour    

Learn about VCH's history and current efforts during a ride-along tour of our properties throughout the Venice area. 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 schedule a tour contact Linda Lucks:
(310) 526-3857 or   


Quick Links


Is it us, or is summer a busier time than ever?

There has been a whirlwind of activity at VCH over the past month. We have captured the highlights for you below.

We recommend you enjoy this edition with a glass of lemonade and follow it up with a little sunshine!

Our Free Storage Venice program - or FSV - provides a facility on Venice Beach for unhoused persons to store their personal property.

FSV launched in late 2012, coinciding with the City of L.A.'s Winter Shelter Program. FSV started up again in late 2013 with the return of the Winter Shelter Program, and it has continued to run since the end of the Winter Shelter program in March.

We have been seeking a permanent facility for FSV and are conferring with City Councilman Mike Bonin. Bonin has requested that FSV continue until such arrangements can be made. Presently FSV has been extended until September 1, 2014. This is welcome news to the clients who depend on the program and continue to express their appreciation for FSV on a daily basis!

How FSV Works

FSV's crammed storage container, with registered bins used by unhoused persons at Venice Beach.
(Photo: Mike Chamness)
The City of L.A. has provided Venice Community Housing with a storage container on Venice Beach, as well as some storage bins. We have provided other bins and necessary supplies. The program is 100 percent volunteer-run.

Unhoused clients can come to the FSV site to register for a bin in which to store their personal property, which they may access daily. There are currently 50 bins crammed into the storage container - all full!

See FSV in Action!


Volunteer Grant Buckerfield, who is working on a series of videos on Venice, created a short film capturing the need for a free storage program for the homeless and the impact that our Free Storage Venice program is having in the community.  


Venice Story : Free Storage Facility
Venice Story : Free Storage Facility


The Future of FSV 


We continue to seek a larger, permanent storage program for unhoused people to not only store their belongings but also to connect with other services (see our Volunteer News section for more details!)  


If you would like to support the work of Free Storage Venice with a donation, please click here.  


If you would like to volunteer with FSV, contact Barbara Milliken at (310) 399-4100 x 134 or

VCH hosts Free Storage Venice volunteer recognition and sleeping bag fundraiser  


VCH and nine local nonprofits and community organizations came together for a volunteer recognition ceremony and sleeping bag fundraiser at the Venice home of Executive Director Steve Clare on July 12th.  


To date the event has raised over $3,300 to provide unhoused people with new sleeping bags - well over our goal of $2,000 - and money is still coming in! We also received several in-kind donations of sleeping bags.   


Free Storage Venice (FSV) volunteers, VCH Board Members, event sponsors and community supporters enjoyed a barbecue, live jazz music, and a celebration of FSV's efforts to support the homeless. 

Free Storage Venice coordinators thank volunteers for their service at the Venice Beach storage container. (Photo: Jack Prichett) 

Steve Clare thanked attendees and the band, Venice Consensus, which performed gratis for the afternoon.


Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Milliken and FSV Coordinator Gina Maslow recognized and thanked the active group of FSV volunteers for their commitment to serving homeless persons at the Venice Beach storage container (for an update on Free Storage Venice, please see our Volunteer News section below!)   


Renowned civil rights attorney, Carol Sobel (pictured below), discussed her recent victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, invalidating as unconstitutional a Los Angeles City ordinance that prohibits people from living in their vehicles. Becky Dennison and other Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) activists spoke about the campaign to promote a Homeless Bill of Rights.  

Featured guest Carol Sobel. (Photo: Jack Prichett).  

Sponsors for the event were: Free Venice Beachhead, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Venice Justice Committee, Occupy Venice, P.O.W.E.R., Safe Place for Youth, Venice Community Housing, Venice Family Clinic, Venice Peace and Freedom Party, Veterans For Peace.  


Thanks to Venice Whole Foods for donating food for the event!    

27 students graduate from Venice YouthBuild   
Cycle 12 graduate DeShondra Henderson
At the end of June we celebrated the graduation of 27 young adults from the twelfth cycle of our Venice YouthBuild program.


Since August 2013 these men and women have made incredible strides toward achieving stability, confidence and direction through education, construction training, community service and leadership development.  


The graduation ceremony included a keynote address by Father Gregory Boyle, founder and Director of Homeboy Industries, and speeches by Venice YouthBuild alumna Teresa Lucas and Cycle 12 graduate DeShondra Henderson.

Congratulations Venice YouthBuild Class of 2014!  We are so proud of your accomplishments!

Before and After: Recent capital improvements 


One of VCH's affordable housing properties, located on Centinela Avenue in Mar Vista, just received a major facelift.

"We replaced the outdoor stairs, installed new railings, repaired the roof, and gave the building a fresh coat of paint," said Director of Housing & Asset Management, Max Harris. "We have also made significant improvements to the interior, including a lot of work on the plumbing system."


The work completed at the Centinela Avenue property is part of a broader effort by our Housing and Maintenance Departments to make capital improvements to our existing properties, creating safer, more energy efficient, and more aesthetically pleasing homes for our residents.

We would like to thank Venice-based landscape architect Jay Griffith for offering his ongoing support and guidance on a number of exterior and landscaping improvements, both at Centinela and other VCH properties.

Photos from Study Lounge Summer Camp!   

Study Lounge campers make silly faces at the end of a field trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Campers learn about sea life before taking a dip in Stoner Park Pool.
A camper digs into a healthy snack at Clover Park.
by  Barbara Milliken


Two volunteers give YouthBuild grads lasting memories
Professional photographers Carol Royce-Wilder and Jack Prichett, pleased with their results after completing the Venice YouthBuild graduation photo shoot.
YouthBuild graduates benefitted from decades of photographic knowledge, background and experience when Venice professional photographers Carol Royce-Wilder and Jack Prichett took formal graduation portraits of the program's Class of 2014.

Each student posed for two different photos: the traditional mortarboard headshot and another with a YouthBuild hardhat - emphasizing the construction training element of the YouthBuild program. All 27 graduates participated. Each was shown the portraits "in camera," selecting their favorites.

The photographers delivered two retouched, final photos of each graduate. YouthBuild students received these for their personal use.

The results show a happy, confident, eager, and accomplished group of young people.
Four beaming YouthBuild graduates
(Photos: Jack Prichett and Carol Royce-Wilder)
To view all of the YouthBuild graduation portraits, click here.  


USC volunteers design Free Storage Venice Facility


University of Southern California professor of architecture Erik Mar, along with five of his students, has volunteered to design a permanent facility for the Free Storage Venice (FSV) program.


Executive Director Steve Clare and Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Milliken have met with Erik and one of his students, Jordan Roberts. Together they are exploring locations and configurations, with the goal of providing maximum storage, privacy, electricity, heat, and sanitary facilities and complying with City requirements.  

USC Architecture student Jordan Roberts inspects the current FSV facility and confers with Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Milliken and volunteers Jack Prichett and Mike Chamness
The present Venice Beach FSV container, located within a chain-linked area and shared with City vehicles, is inadequate for clients. It is running at full capacity and continuing demand cannot be met.  There is little room and privacy for our clients, and it is uncomfortable and difficult for volunteers because bins must be removed to access others, sometimes requiring lifting and lowering those on top. There is no lighting, protection from the elements, or sanitary facilities. 


To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Venice Community Housing, visit our web site or contact Barbara Milliken at (310) 399-4100 ext. 134 or   


Venice Arts Council seeks to preserve endangered art on Ocean Front Walk

Visitors to Venice Beach's Ocean Front Walk
are often surprised and delighted by the aesthetically pleasing benches and the handmade art tiles
depicting its history.
  Sadly, three benches and six tiles have been removed from Ocean Front Walk due to their deterioration.

To draw attention to the existence of these remarkable tiles, the Venice Arts Council recently published Art Tiles at Venice Beach A Graphic History: 1904-2001.

Books are available for purchase for a suggested $20 donation, and proceeds will fund the preservation and protection of these tiles and the benches that house them!

To order a copy, and to learn more about the Venice Arts Council and their work, click here.

Sunday, September 14th 
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
743 Palms Blvd., Venice 

You're invited to our 22nd annual Jazz at Palms Court champagne brunch and silent auction! Ticketing information, sponsorship opportunities, and more are available at  
Until Next Month, 


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