MARCH 2016


The full scoop on our people, programs & progress

Dear Friends,
Last week we celebrated the first wave of move ins to our recently completed Gateway Apartments. Gateway Apartments will be home to 21 individuals who experienced chronic homelessness with severe medical issues and who are most in need of housing. We have already furnished the units to be move-in ready with a fully furnished kitchen and bathroom. We invite you to sponsor a tenant's move in and fund the gifts they received.

Welcoming 10 New Residents to Gateway Apartments

George* moved into his 
apartment on Friday after being homeless for four years. He moved in with just a backpack and the clothes on his back. He became homeless after getting divorced, suffering from a stroke and other various health ailments. His disability forced him into unemployment. He would occasionally sleep under a desk at a friend's office when it was really cold. George continues to have medical issues, but is incredibly thankful to finally have his home and place to rest. George's background is one of many similar stories at Gateway Apartments.

Please help us fund the necessary kitchen utensils and bathroom supplies these tenants needed. Click the link below to help financially support their move ins.

*name was changed to maintain anonymity
Spring Cleaning at our Admin Offices

Spring has sprung and VCH has undergone the biggest spring cleaning in 15 years! Out with the old and in with the new.... carpet!

After 15 years at 720 Rose, we were able to improve our administrative offices with a carpet replacement and some fresh paint! The office beautification has allowed us to reorganize, redecorate, and re-love where we work!

VCH Thanks You! A Donor Appreciation Event

We hope you've received your invitation to our Donor Appreciation event. Please allow us to thank you for your past support and contributions!

Join us for wine, hors d'oeuvres, and an opportunity to meet our new Executive Director, Becky Dennison on Wednesday, March 30th from 6-8pm.

Please don't forget to RSVP to Myrna Bohan by email or at (310)573-8407 by Friday, March 18th. Address will be provided upon RSVP.
2016 Venice Design Series
Here is your opportunity to step inside  LA's landmark architecture in the company of culture, civic and artistic leaders to benefit VCH!

Venice Design Series - Architecture + Experience
WHEN April 30 ( DTLA) Downtown LA Tour
- led by VCH's Becky Dennison & Sylvia Aroth
May 7 (AM) Walking Tour of Brentwood's rustic Sullivan Canyon- led by Patricia Choate & Jay Griffith -
May 7 PM A Venice Moveable Feast- led by VCH's Sylvia Aroth
May 14 AM (SWLA) Southwest LA Tour
- Leimert Village: Art + Practice Foundation/Exhibition Space; a performance by jazz and blues great Barbara Morrison; visits to private homes in Village Green, Baldwin Hills, View Park,
May 15 Sunset Soiree at Saddle Peak House
- with a performance by the principal cellist of the LA Philharmonic, hosted by Venice architect Michael and Kristin Sant
May 21 THE Party-
a celebration for all the hosts, sponsors, guests at the historic Pacific Palisades home of event co-founder/co-chair, Venice based landscape designer Jay Griffith

Available Now online
Linda Lucks 310.526.3857
CO-CHAIRS Jay Griffith | Linda Lucks | Dana and Eric Newman

After School Updates

Both Study Lounge sites at Broadway Elementary and Washington Courts have partnered with the Way Forward program to bring snacks to our students. The program delivers prepared snacks and small meals to the students during our academic-based program. We're grateful for the new partnership and hope that these great meals are enjoyed by all our after school students!
YouthBuild News
Venice YouthBuild Updates
This month in YouthBuild has been a time of strong leadership and partnerships.  First, we solidified our new partnership with SELVA, International and began sustainable landscaping work on single-family homes within West Los Angeles. Participants have begun to learn valuable job skills and understand the importance of environmental conservation and protection, while simultaneously helping families.
Our participants also attended career preparation workshops with Marina Del Rey JVS WorkSource focusing on professionalism, resume & cover letter writing, and interview preparation.  The workshops culminated with mock interviews for our participants.

Also, our community service work with partners has been quite busy.  Program participants have worked with Kiss the Ground to plant and maintain local community gardens in Venice, which provide 100% natural vegetables for local homeless or low-income households at no charge.  The participants have also partnered with Heal the Bay on their "Adopt-a-Beach" program and have committed to three beach clean-ups this year.  This provide participants the opportunity to not only clean-up pollution but also promote environmental awareness and civic engagement. Our program always welcomes and appreciates community volunteers so please do contact us if you are interested in supporting a particular service cause we're working on as well as our program itself.

Finally, the annual YouthBuild USA Conference of Young Leaders (COYL) in Washington D.C. took place in early March.  At this leadership conference, only 2 YouthBuild participants are selected from various programs across the country to attend where they discuss social justice issues, participate in leadership workshops, advocate for funding and youth needs nationally with elected officials and policy makers, develop partnerships with other programs, and support the YouthBuild movement nationally. We were proud to elect Gelleck "Mendy" Mendarava and Sarah Buso to represent our program and community.  Participant Sarah Buso also ran for the Young Leaders Council (YLC) of the COYL where she gave a speech and was voted into office! Congrats to Sarah for this accomplishment and both Sarah and Mendy for representing Venice YouthBuild well on the national scene! 
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
VCH's Volunteer Board Gives Steve Clare Rousing Sendoff 
The VCH Board of Directors held its annual, all-day meeting at the home of Board Member Sylvia Aroth in February.  Former and current Executive Directors, Steve Clare and Becky Dennison attended along with VCH Directors.   
      All gave Steve a rousing sendoff as he begins his retirement and welcomed Becky enthusiastically.  A photo "memory book" of some of Steve's many shining moments guiding the VCH ship was presented to him with heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

Attendees of the VCH Annual Board Meeting: Becky Dennison and Steve Clare seated far left. Photo Credit: Jack Prichett

Top Photographer Melba Levick Teaches Photo Basics to TLC Kids 
Acclaimed photographer, Melba Levick, recently taught a month-long volunteer project for VCH's Transitional Living Center (TLC).  Classes at the Center's community room were interspersed with two beach field trips where students, accompanied by TLC support volunteers, learned to choose subjects, look critically and frame their photos carefully.  Afterwards, Melba and the kids reviewed and evaluated their shots.  It was a new adventure for all, including Melba, who praised her students' desire to learn, ability to 'see' and take unique photos and then to discuss them.  "It was very rewarding for me," she says.
        Levick has published over 60 photographic books on travel, design and architecture in Europe and the Americas.  Her work has been exhibited and appeared in magazines worldwide.  She is known for her books on California homes and gardens,  Gaudi and the "Modernismo" era in Barcelona and the MEXICOLOR collection in Mexico.  She recently published two books on India.  She lives and works in Venice Beach and Paris.  VCH thanks Melba for her imaginative contribution.
Melba Levick shows TLC students photos in her books   
Photo Credit: Margot Dougherty
Venice Beach field trip photos 
Photo Credit: Margot Dougherty 

Venice Field Trip photos
Photo Credit: Margot Dougherty 

Mary-Jane Wagle Inspires TLC Women to Write Their Stories
Mary Jane Wagle with her book about lives of remarkable Ethiopian Women
Photo Credit: Jack Prichett 
Recently, volunteer Mary-Jane Wagle gathered several residents of the Transitional Living Center (TLC) on two evenings to share stories from her book, 
Temsalet:  Phenomenal Ethiopian Women, featuring lives of 64 women, who pushed back boundaries in Ethiopia.  Mary Jane lived there for almost four years, helping interview women and edit their stories for publication, there and in the US.  The women tell their backgrounds, challenges, personal strengths, hopes, dreams and advise young women.   

            "It was heartwarming and amazing to see how TLC women identified with the Ethiopian women.  They face many of the same hardships and draw strength in similar ways. I was struck by the empathy and inspiration they felt for the Ethiopian women and their lives," says Mary-Jane.  Now several TLC women are thinking about writing their own stories, with the help of Mary-Jane, Nancy Griffin and Margot Dougherty as volunteer interviewers and story crafters.  "I am hoping their effort to tell their stories will help them realize their power and strength by surviving, remaking their lives and helping others."  


            Mary-Jane is a retired executive with over thirty years business, government and non-profit sector experience in the fields of housing development, community development, women's reproductive health, and strategic planning.  She currently is a community volunteer.  Many thanks  for her remarkable contribution!       


VCH Will Miss Whole Food's Gabe Dupin

 Whenever a volunteer event or donation of food and drink was in the works, the first thought was to call Gabe DuPin from Whole Foods for help.   Gabe was available and could be counted on to come through with just the right products, donated often and freely to VCH.  As just one example, when VCH's Free Storage Venice organized a sleeping bag fund-raiser for homeless persons, Gabe filled a shopping basket with free burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and rolls for the event-along with mustard, relish, ketchup, chips and drinks of all varieties, plates, napkins, cups and utensils.  

            Gabe goes onto a different career with a local kombucha manufacturer.  He has served on YouthBuild's Advisory Board and will continue to do so, so he will still be seen around VCH.  Many thanks to Gabe and Whole Foods.  We wish him the best in his new endeavor!


VCH's Volunteer Coordinator - Barbara Milliken, Gabe DuPin, VCH's Community Outreach and Special Events Coordinator- Linda Lucks
(l. to r.)


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 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. 

*Winter Need*
With the upcoming cold and rainy weather, the Donation Center is looking for coats, umbrellas, boots, and other winter gear.

Upcoming Shop Days:
March 18
April 15
May 20

Please bring donations to our office located at 720 Rose Avenue in Venice, Mon - Fri 10am-2pm. 
According to an LAPD report, there were 21 fatal police shootings in 2015 by the LAPD. Comparatively, Houston Police had 12 and Chicago had 8.


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