JULY 2015

The full scoop on our people, programs & progress

Dear Friends,
Wishing you all a very happy summer from VCH! We're busy running camp, planning exciting fundraisers, and renovating buildings, all while trying to enjoy a little sunshine. 

This month, our donation center is looking for donations of full or trial sized bathroom products- lotions, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, and other necessities. Drop offs are accepted on weekdays, 10am-2pm at 720 Rose Ave. Thanks for all your continued support!

Support Free Storage Venice
Free Storage Venice Testimony
Free Storage Venice Testimony

Since 2012, Venice Community Housing has made efforts to provide a permanent storage facility for the personal property of homeless people in the community whose belongings often litter the sidewalks and beach areas. VCH has operated the Free Storage Venice program at the Venice Boardwalk since December 2013, providing 26 bins of storage for our community. However, due to the current needs of the community, 26 bins and one hour per day do not suffice. We have closed the wait list at 100, but the true estimated need is 300 bins. The program currently operates Tuesdays through Saturdays for one hour, between 4:30 to 5:30PM. In order to extend operating hours, we need more volunteers! We are also looking for a larger, permanent location to expand the program and offer on-site outreach. Councilmember Bonin has indicated that there will be a RFP for the currently closed Westminster Senior Center, which VCH intends to propose for a permanent Free Storage Venice location.

How to Help:
  • Volunteer to help staff the program. Contact Volunteer Coordinator, Barbara Milliken at bmilliken@vchcorp.org or (310) 399-4100 x134
  • Send a letter to Councilman Mike Bonin supporting the need of Free Storage Venice and our request to use the closed Westminster Senior Center.
Additional Videos*:

*Videos courtesy of Judy Branfman

At a demonstration on July 16 in front of an apartment building in Hollywood, Venice Community Housing joined with Keeping Neighborhoods First, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Unite Here, the Southern California Association of NonProfit Houses (SCANPH) and other community groups to demand that the City take action to protect rental housing in Los Angeles from being converted into transient occupancy commercial businesses, often referred to as short term rentals or vacation rentals. (View the LA Times Article here) Short term rentals in Los Angeles are considered hotels and are now illegal in most residential communities, but the City has until recently turned a blind eye to these conversions.

In a recent report, LAANE estimates that over 7000 rental units have been taken off the market city wide based upon evaluation of only one of several platforms which advertise short term rentals. VCH estimates that there are now over 2000 short term rentals in Venice. That is probably 15% of the entire rental housing stock in our community. These conversions put upward pressure on the rental rates of the remaining rental housing stock as well as eliminating permanent rental housing in our community.  And to the extent that the rental housing lost was occupied by long term tenants at below market rents, the loss of that housing means the permanent loss of affordability.

Santa Monica recently passed an ordinance which prohibits short term rentals entirely and permits home sharing only when the host is present. And on June 2, 2016, Councilman Mike Bonin introduced a
motion to forbid short term rental of any dwelling unit that is not the primary residence of the host. 



Venice Community Housing supports Councilman Bonin's motion and encourages the City to follow Santa Monica's example and require that the host to be present during the rental period or, if the host is not present (e.g. the host wants to rent out his/her home while s/he is on vacation) that the period of time of absence be limited. Because the City lacks the resources to effectively enforce such an ordinance, VCH also recommends that the public as well as the City be given the right to enforce the law.

Save The Date! Our 23rd Annual Jazz At Palms Court
On September 20th, 2015, Venice Community Housing is proud to host our 23rd annual champagne brunch fundraiser, Jazz at Palms Court. Join us for a gourmet brunch, champagne, live jazz, and popular silent auction.

We are proud to announce this year's musician, Iliana Rose. Iliana and her band will grace Jazz at Palms Court with her upbeat Cuban-influenced jazz. 

For sponsorship, auction item donation, or advertising opportunities, please contact Development Director, Myrna Pappas at (310) 573-8407 or by email.
Eat Local Using EBT or WIC with Market Match

Support local farmers' markets! The Ecology Center has created an interactive map which shows local farmers' markets that accept
CalFresh EBT, WIC, and have Market Match incentives. The site also has a list of farmers markets in the 90291 area. Access to healthy and local eating is growing!

Willie Jane Community Night- July 28th
Come eat, drink, and learn more about VCH on July 28th 6-9pm at Willie Jane at 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Suggested $25 Donation.
For questions, contact Linda Lucks at llucks@vchcorp.org  

Fun in the Sun
Summer has finally arrived! And so has Study Lounge Summer Camp! Four days a week, students go on educational field trips and learn from UCLA's TEACH healthy living modules. So far, campers have gone to the Griffith Observatory, the Science Center, Natural History Museum, and many other fun and exciting places! 

Are you Young? And Professional?
VCH's Young Professional's Board is looking for members!

YPB is a small group of dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds interested in hosting events, service days, and expanding the great work of VCH. 

If you are under 40 and would like to learn more, please contact Development Manager, Erika Lee at elee@vchcorp.org or by phone at (310)573-8406.
Study Lounge Celebration
Our after school Study Lounge program celebrated the end of the school year with a cake and punch party! Students were awarded certificates for their academic achievements at the small graduation celebration. Congratulations to the Study Lounge students!


YouthBuild News

YouthBuild Graduation



On June 26th, VCH celebrated the graduation of the Venice YouthBuild Class of 2015! We are all incredibly proud of the success of this year's class and wish them the best as they leave the YouthBuild family. So far, thirteen students have found employment, and five are currently enrolled in local community colleges. 
Congrats to the YouthBuild Class of 2015!


Looking for the Class of 2016!

    Venice YouthBuild is recruiting students for the 2015-2016 program cycle. Eligible students must have not completed high school and are between the ages of 18-24. Venice YouthBuild provides paid training to earn their high school diploma and learn valuable construction skills. If interested, please contact YouthBuild Coordinator, Marisol Perez


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. 

For volunteer opportunities with Venice YouthBuild, please contact Sarah Norman at snorman@vchcorp.org
By Barbara Milliken

Once Again, Thanks Google!


A second group of Google volunteers teamed up to help renovate and rehabilitate another VCH property on Brooks Ave. in Venice.  [In June, Google Volunteers painted and constructed patio items for our Inglewood Blvd. building.  See Volunteer Corner, June VCH Newsletter.]  Max Harris set up the project and put out the call.  Five volunteers signed up to paint and install fencing, frames and gates.


            As shown in the photos below, it took some exertion and know-how, but the project was completed under the direction of VCH's Clarence Dorsey and with the assistance of VCH helpers.  The premises are now greatly improved, directly benefiting the residents, thanks to these volunteers.  VCH appreciates their efforts and thanks Google and its employees!


Google volunteers Michael Rosett [l.] and Matt Golden [r.] paint a rear gate.  Photo:  Jack Prichett

Google volunteer Rachel Biniaz drives home a screw in the framework for a new gate; Michael Burns hold a spacer on the other side of the frame.  Photo:  Jack Prichett

The whole crew with the newly installed fence:  Matt Golden, Rachel Biniaz [Google], VCH team [including Clarence Dorsey and Francisco Urias], Pedram Azari, Michael Rosett and Michael Burns [Google].  Photo:  Jack Prichett


Summer Mentoring, Teaching Opportunities Available for Volunteers


In the summertime, the livin' is easy-and learning proceeds at VCH.  A summer session for youth, the Academy, is available for students wishing to get grounded in basic subjects such as English, history, mathematics.

            Volunteers maximize benefits by engaging with students on a one-to-one basis, as pictured below, giving individual attention to specific needs and requirements.  In the photo, Rosalie Gamache [l.], a summer student, receives instruction from Volunteer Judy Branfman [r.] on the basics of English and sentence structure.  Rosalie hopes to be accepted in to the upcoming YouthBuild program.  

            Judy Branfman volunteers weekly for 2 hours, helping out in various subject areas.   VCH welcomes applications to mentor and assist students like Rosalie.  Thanks to all volunteers for this very rewarding work.



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

here and/or contacting Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Milliken at bmilliken@vchcorp.org 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:
August 14
September 18
October 16 

Please bring donations to our office located at 720 Rose Avenue in Venice, Mon - Fri 10am-2pm. 
According to the LAPD Mid-Year Crime Report, police shots fired have increased 26.1%, with a total of 595 shots fired between Jan 1-June 30, 2015, compared to 472 during the same period in 2014.

Another Tragic and Deadly Shooting

Two months ago, Brandon Glen, an unarmed homeless man, was shot and killed by a police officer on Windward Avenue near Venice Beach. The incident was filmed but the video was confiscated by the police who later reported that the footage would not be made available to the public without a court order.  

Now, a week ago, the police shot another homeless man outside a coffee shop on Rose Avenue in Venice. The man, later identified as Jason Davis, was reported to have been upset and waving a knife when the police arrived.  He was tased, apparently to no effect, and then shot at least two times by police officers from a distance of approximately 10 feet. A box cutter knife was found at the scene. Davis was handcuffed and later taken to the hospital but died from his wounds on Wednesday. Read his story here.

These two tragic incidents in our community are the latest in a string of police shootings that only highlight what we already know, that most LAPD officers are not well trained to deal with mentally ill people and have little skill in deescalating potentially violent situations. Both of these incidents should be thoroughly investigated. Police officers must be held accountable for their actions. And the Mayor, City Council, the Police Commission and Chief of Police are all responsible to develop protocols and provide training to officers that make the use of deadly force the last option not first option when called upon to provide assistance.



The start of the new year brought Erika Lee to Venice Community Housing as the Development Manager (and newsletter author!). The LA native attended Northeastern University and worked in development at a womens' day shelter in Boston before relocating back to California.

Her favorite parts of VCH are the all-staff meetings and getting to meet members of the community. She, however, does not enjoy writing about herself in third person.

When not at VCH, Erika enjoys biking, yoga, traveling, and trying new restaurants. She can often be found biking around Venice, so feel free to say Hi!

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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