MARCH 2015

The full scoop on our people, programs & progress

Dear Friends,
March brings us longer sunny days, St. Patrick's Day, and of course, March Madness. For this month, the sights and sounds of basketball take over our television sets. We are all familiar with the whistles, buzzers, dribbling of the ball, and squeaking of brightly colored basketball shoes on polished wood floors. With all the excitement of the games we often forget that to some, owning shoes and socks is a luxury.

Many people come to VCH with battered shoes, soles flapping, bound by duct tape. In honor of March Madness, we ask that this month you consider an in-kind donation of new socks or 
gently used (particularly men's) shoes to Venice Community Housing's donation center. 

Donations may be dropped off at our administrative offices at 720 Rose Avenue Venice, CA 90291 or contact Chela Vallejo, (310) 584-7647 or

Gateway Groundbreaking Success

Venice Community Housing and Hollywood Community Housing Corporation celebrated the ground breaking of Gateway Apartments on March 5th. Over 70 attendees came to support the construction of 21 permanent supportive housing units for the chronically homeless. Thank you to all of our speakers and everyone who came! Join us next year for the grand opening!

An extra big thank you to speaker and supporter Councilman Mike Bonin! Bonin has supported this project since its inception and continues to address homelessness in Council District 11.

"Twenty units is just a drop in the bucket for what we need to address homelessness in Los Angeles, however, Gateway Apartments will have profound opportunities for change for the 20 people who will live here- it is a ripple that will also help change the hearts and minds of our community. I am determined to find opportunities to build affordable and permanent supportive housing in CD11."

2015 Hart Vision Charter School of the Year Award
John Muir Charter School received the prestigious Hart Vision Award at the 22nd Annual California Charter School Conference this week. John Muir was presented with the Charter School of the Year award for providing unique learning opportunities to earn a high school diploma while working with organizations such as California Conservation Corp, Local Conservation Corps, Workforce Investment acts... and most notably YouthBuild. 
2015 Hart Vision School of the Year North - John Muir Charter School
2015 Hart Vision School of the Year North - John Muir Charter School

VCH is proud to have John Muir Charter School as the on-site school for Venice YouthBuild students and hopes to continue changing the lives of youth together. Read more about John Muir and the other awards here.
VCH In the News
VCH continues to advocate for affordable housing and homeless rights on a regular basis. This month, The LA Times and The Argonaut published news items from Executive Director Steve Clare and Board Chair Marie Kennedy supporting our efforts.

Short-Term Rentals
Airbnb and other short-term rentals are worsening the housing crisis. In tourist friendly neighborhoods, such as Venice and Hollywood, Airbnb listings account for 4% or more of all housing units. "Short-term rentals are really taking over a significant portion of the rental housing market in our community," Clare said. "It's going to further escalate rents, and take affordable housing out of Venice." Read on here...


Venice's Great Homeless Divide

In response to a column in The Argonaut, VCH's Executive Director, Steve Clare tackles the fallacy claiming that Venice suffers from a disproportionate amount of crime due to the transient population in his own Argonaut piece.


SB608 Right to Rest Act

Board Chair, Marie Kennedy defends the rights of the homeless in the LA Times. Her opinion can be found here.

YouthBuild News

Leadership Development



Venice YouthBuild has been all about leadership lately! Ten outstanding students were chosen to represent YouthBuild USA in Sacramento during Government Education Days (GED) from February 24 -26. Youth advocated for their program by asking congress persons for sponsorship of AB643 while bringing awareness to the Capitol of our communities' resiliency by sharing their personal narratives. Additionally, two more star leaders, Samuel "Sam" Gonzalez and Giovany "Gio" Martinez, represented Venice in Washington DC at the Conference of Young Leaders (CoYL) from March 9 - 12, replicating the advocacy process on a national level and learning leadership skills that will strengthen their future and character.


Car Wash Fundraiser 




YouthBuild has been politically active at state and national levels, but also working hard to fund a celebration for their future success in program completion! On Saturday, March 7th VYB's Youth Policy Committee (YPC) organized a youth-led car wash and bake sale to raise money for future programming. With support from local Venetians and our family at Venice Community Housing, youth raised over $400 by washing 20+ cars and selling youth-made baked goods! A special thank you to VCH staff, Doris Oliker and Jataun Valentine, and volunteers who supported this event - we appreciate your devotion!


LASTLY, Congratulations to Venice YouthBuild's Advocacy Leaders for doing an outstanding job advocating for youth and the community of Venice in both Sacramento and Washington DC: Victor Alfaro, Arturo Becerril, Sal Flores, Yoshi Funes, Sam Gonzalez, Gio Martinez, Glaiza Nevado, D Rogers, Gabe Sanchez, Kevin Soriano Londra Vasquez, and Marco Vivar!


Open Mic Night


Venice YouthBuild invites you to an Open Mic Night on March 27th at the Pico Youth and Family Center. Malaika B. James has been hosting PEN In the Classroom (PITC) poetry workshops

with Venice YouthBuild students once a week for the past three months, culminating in this exciting event. It will be a student run event celebrating community, self-expression, and show casing all of the work that the students have produced through the course of the workshop.  For more information, please contact YouthBuild Teacher Sarah Wakasa at

Venice YouthBuild is a comprehensive program providing education, job training, and leadership development to 35 youth ages 18-24 each year to help them transition into successful adults. 
Summer is on its way....
Summer is quickly approaching! Our after school programs staff are beginning to ramp up for Summer Camp which will operate from June 29th through July 31st Mondays through Thursdays 1-5pm. UCLA's TEACH program will continue their partnership through the summer and incorporate their module into the summer program. So far, 22 students are already signed up!
Venice Design Series

Tickets on sale now for the Venice Design Series, kicking off on Saturday, April 25th with special events through May 10th.

Please see the invitation here.  For sponsorship opportunities, tickets and questions, please contact Linda Lucks at or (310) 526-3857 


For additional information, visit 
By Barbara Milliken




Free Storage Venice undertakes periodic checks to make sure that clients renew storage bin use. Those failing to timely renew are called by FSV volunteers and asked to collect their possessions.  If clients fail to respond within a reasonable time, FSV coordinates the following process with the City:  volunteers empty these bins, clean them, place the contents in plastic bags, label the bags with pertinent information to enable rightful reclamation if requested.  Thereafter City receives the bags and holds them according to lawful procedures.  FSV then allows persons on its lengthy waiting list to use emptied bins.  This process enables equitable usage of facilities and prevents storage of abandoned items.

            Last month Sarah Norman, with Deborah LaShever's guidance, attempted to contact non- renewing clients.  After the requisite time has passed, YouthBuild will help FSV volunteers to carry out the procedure above.  Thanks to all!  

Deborah LeShever, FSV volunteer, and Sarah Norman, VCH YouthBuild staff, review renewals of FSV storage bins.  

If you're interested in volunteering, learn more about our volunteer opportunities by clicking

here and/or contacting Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Milliken at or (424) 268-5121.
Until next month,




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.  

Support Our Donation Center

Open the 3rd Friday of every month

Our Donation Center is open to all low-income and homeless individuals for "Shop Day" every third Friday of the month. Please consider donating your gently used clothing, small household items, personal hygiene, and cleaning products to those in need. 

Upcoming Shop Days:
March 20th
April 17th
May 15th

Please bring donations to our office located at 720 Rose Avenue in Venice, Mon - Fri 10am-2pm. 
According to the recent California Housing Partnership Corporation report, 91% of Los Angeles County's very low-income renter households pay more than 30% of income in rent.

There is a shortfall of 490,340 homes affordable and available to Los Angeles County's very low-income and extremely low-income households.


Jonah Katende joined the Venice YouthBuild team as a Case Manager this past November. Jonah was born in Texas, but grew up in the Inland Empire.


His favorite part of being a Case Manager is witnessing the youth make a break through and make progress in their lives.


Prior to joining VCH, Jonah played football at The University of West Georgia as a Safety and worked as the Teen Director at the Boys at Girls Club.


In addition to his deep deep love of football (his favorite teams are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or USC Trojans), Jonah enjoys working out, watching movies, playing video games, and going out with his friends. His favorite movie is Beverly Hills Cop and he loves to eat his mom's lasagna or Ugandan food.



Quick Links

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!

P: (310)399-4100 F: (310)399-1130
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