The full scoop on our people, programs & progress

Dear Friends,
It is the month for giving thanks. On behalf of everyone at VCH, we thank you for your dedication and support for the past 27 years.

As the end of the year and holidays quickly approach, we ask that you remember the individuals and families in need. Please consider a donation to help us provide tenant holiday parties, toys and gifts, and a warm, loving holiday season for the community.
Spread the Holiday Cheer
Bring a smile to a child, youth, and family! Our goal is to provide a toy or gift card for every child living in one of our properties, participating in our after-school programs, and the children of our YouthBuild students. Our annual holiday parties will be held the week of December 14th, so please drop off donations by December 8th so we can sort, wrap, and distribute the gifts! We hope to receive 300 toys and 100 gift cards to distribute.

Gift cards of $10 are recommended from GameStop, iTunes, Ross, Target, Subway, El Pollo Loco, movie theaters, and other age-appropriate restaurants and retail stores. 

Brighten the holidays for those we serve by donating a new, unwrapped toy for children 0-12 or a $10 gift card for youth ages 13+. Drop off donations to VCH offices between 9am-5pm, Monday - Friday.

If you'd like to host a drive or need to schedule a pick up, please contact Erika Lee by email or at (310)573-8406. 
Celebrating Success Breakfast
On October 29th, Venice Community Housing was proud to be a part of the Westside Coalition's 20th Annual Celebrating Success Breakfast. The breakfast is an event to honor formerly homeless clients and recognize social service providers on the Westside of Los Angeles. 

VCH honored two clients who have overcome countless obstacles and never given up hope. Today these individuals have regained self-sufficiency and are an inspiration to us all. Congratulations to everyone honored, past and present, and all the members of the Westside Coalition for all the great work you continue to do!

Halloween at TLC
Vampire girls and ghouls galore kicked up their heels at the Westminster TLC Halloween party, along with some dashing superheroes. The TLC's children dressed up in costumes donated by volunteers as characters including Batman, Flash Gordon and Sally from the Nightmare on Elm Street.  Lunch was served as the children, mothers and invited guests enjoyed spooky fun, games and party favors.


The party, which lasted all afternoon, was organized by Karen Sherwood of the Topanga Women's Circle, volunteer Susan Moore, and TLC staff.  
The kids got ready for trick-or-treat night by decorating pumpkins and getting their faces painted.  Dancers from the Topanga non-profit troupe Move the World rocked the house with music from Michael Jackson's Thriller and taught the children-and a few brave adults--the video's zombie dance.

Guests included VCH Board Member Dana Newman, Rob Hudnut from Housing Options for People to Excel (HOPE) and his son Patrick, and members of the TLC Circle of Friends.  
Wearing a cat-in-the-hat disguise, Susan Moore presided over a table of delicious food donated by Debbi and Lou Singer of C&O Trattoria and Gabe Dubin of Whole Foods.
Gateway Update
The development of Gateway Apartments is quickly coming along! The 21 unit building is closer to being finished! The building is scheduled to be complete in February and will be fully leased by May, allowing VCH to house an additional 20 formerly homeless and chronically ill individuals. 
Register for the United Way Home Walk
We're participating in the United Way HomeWalk to end homelessness. Register and walk with us on Saturday, November 21st. Join Venice Community Housing's team here! Join the team "Venice Community Housing" and use the Promo Code: HPARTNER15 for free registration. We encourage you to create a fundraising page to help support the efforts of the United Way. Please feel free to invite any friends or family who may be interested! For questions, please contact Team Captain, Erika Lee by email or at (310)573-8406. 

#GivingTuesday is a nationally recognized day after Thanksgiving dedicated to giving back. Look out for VCH's #GivingTuesday campaign on December 1st, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. We invite you to give thanks not only to give back VCH but to everyone in your life! 
Annual Reading of Moby Dick
Join the Venice Oceanarium's 20th annual reading of the book Moby Dick on Venice Beach. The reading will take place on the beach by the Breakwater rocks in Venice just past Windward Circle on Saturday and Sunday Nov. 21st and 22nd from 8am-10pm. For more details, please visit
YouthBuild News
Venice YouthBuild Updates

This October, YouthBuild welcomed a second cohort of participants to our 2015 - 16 program class.  Just like the first group, these participants made it through our intensive Mental Toughness Orientation and earned their spot within program. However, we are still recruiting for this year and accepting applicants, so please keep referring any interested youth. 
As this year gets underway, we already completed one of our annual OSHA-10 Workplace Safety and CPR/First-Aid Trainings with our Advisory Board member UCLA LOSH. This is a great training for our participants as we prep for our construction site, and it often serves as the first credential our participants can proudly put on their resumes.  This month YouthBuild also returned to working with our construction partner from last year, Dreyfuss Construction, on building senior affordable housing in Playa Vista.  This year's class will get to follow-up on the good work done by the previous class, and continue to work on a great construction project at Playa Vista that exposes participants to a range of construction skills and training while giving back to the community. One new development this year is our partnership with SELVA International, a nonprofit conservation organization.  Our current program participants will be working on sustainable landscaping projects in the West Los Angeles area throughout the year, and this month we helped to complete our first project with SELVA. It was a great experience and this looks to be a promising partnership. Finally, to round out the month, YouthBuild decorated pumpkins the day before Halloween, which were later donated to formerly homeless, single parent families in one of VCH's buildings.

Alumni News

Marco Vivar began serving his first term as the newly elected President of the California State Alumni Council (CSTAC).  Marco, along with alumni across the state look to help improve programs in California and the YouthBuild impact throughout the state this year.  Our program is proud of his leadership efforts and those of his fellow CSTAC colleagues.  However, we have many alumni doing well. This month nineteen graduates from our program - Cycle 13 - obtained employment and/or enrolled in college. This marked the strongest employment/college attainment number ever for a graduating class in their first quarter after graduation. Congrats Cycle 13, Class of 2015!!

To get involved with Venice YouthBuild, please contact Program Director, Rick Solis Jr. at

Venice YouthBuild is a comprehensive program providing education, job training, and leadership development to 25 youth ages 18-24 each year to help them transition into successful adults.
By Barbara Milliken
Longtime VCH Supporter Sheila Balkan Spearheads Video Project
Sheila Balkan, VCH's long-time stalwart supporter, donor and volunteer, has undertaken a video marketing tool focusing on the 2015 and 2016 YouthBuild program from the students' points of view.  Sheila and famed, Emmy-award winning videographer, Chad Callner, are working to produce a video for public relations, community visibility and recruitment of donors, contributors, friends and volunteers.  YouthBuild Volunteer Ali Amin is sponsoring the project.  Ali has also sponsored the 2014 and 2015 YB graduations.
Sheila, having learned many YB students' stories, backgrounds and dreams through the project, commends their efforts, work ethic and community spirit.  She is especially impressed by their expressed gratitude for "the support of VCH and the YB program."  She says "They find it challenging, but work with and support each other to achieve.  This is the first time many have gained self-esteem and are surprised at their achievements, pulling each other through in a cooperative, not competitive spirit."  Look for the video soon on VCH's web site and other materials!

Videographer, Chad Callner, and Sheila Balkan, Ph.D., at work at VCH.
Chad Callner taking video of Sheila Balkan interviewing YB student

Susan Moore Volunteers to Start TLC Community Support Group
Susan Moore, already an active VCH volunteer for the first Venice Design Series and Jazz, has proposed and initiated the task of putting together a community support group for the Transitional Living Center.  In coordination
Susan Moore, Ph.D.  Photo:  Jack Prichet
with HOPE from Brentwood Presbyterian Church, which has been a generous and stalwart TLC supporter for 26 years, and Boardmember Dana Newman, Susan is working with Carmen Navarro, TLC Program Manager, and Lucia Mendez, TLC Program Assistant.  Susan wants to bring services, events, donations, sponsors, classes, professional assistance and more via local volunteers and organizations. Some of these are already underway; others are being planned.
Susan's motivation is simple:  "I recently retired from corporate America and am now a full time volunteer. VCH is my organization of choice.  I focus on TLC because I want to help women make good choices in their lives and have options for decision making. I live to see the day when all women live the life they have chosen rather than a life that has been imposed upon them."

Volunteers Table for VCH at Del Rey Day
VCH welcomed all, made new friends, distributed materials, enlisted volunteers, signed up supporters, and chatted with politicos at Del Rey Day in October, 2015.  
VCH was new to many at the event who wanted to know all the basics: where, what, how and more.  Board members Alice Nanga and Barbara Milliken, along with Linda Lucks, VCH's Community Outreach and Special Events coordinator, fielded all the inquiries and comments.   
Alice Nanga, Barbara Milliken and Linda Lucks at Del Rey Day

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.
With gratitude,




The mission of 
Venice Community Housing is to reduce homelessness, maximize affordable housing, empower residents, provide social services, and advocate for public policy that protects and strengthens the economic, racial and cultural diversity of Venice and other neighborhoods on the Westside of Los Angeles. 

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:
November 20
December 18
January 15

Please bring donations to our office located at 720 Rose Avenue in Venice, Mon - Fri 10am-2pm. 
According to the LAHSA 2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, in Council District 11, the number of homeless Veterans increased from 149 in 2013 to 460 in 2015. 


Skye Gonzalez joined VCH in September as the Venice YouthBuild MSW Intern. She supports students by linking them to social services and resources and co-facilitating a life skills group on personal development and healthy relationships. Skye most enjoys working one on one with the Venice YouthBuild students. 

Skye, originally from the Pico Union area, attended Cal State Long Beach and earned her Bachelors in Social Work with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently working towards her Masters of Social Work at UCLA.

During her free time, Skye enjoys hiking, karaoke, and trying new restaurants. She has been a vegan for 6 years! Skye also works to rescue rats from laboratory testing. These are two of her rescued furry friends! 

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!

Shop to Support VCH!

VCH always supports shopping local, however it isn't always possible. 

To support VCH through your Amazon purchases, simply go to and add Venice Community Housing Corporation as your charity of choice!

P: (310)399-4100 F: (310)399-1130
Stay In Touch

Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter