MAY 2016


The full scoop on our people, programs & progress

Dear Friends,
This month VCH was so proud and honored to open a new building dedicated to permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless residents, alongside our partners at Hollywood Community Housing Corporation. The Grand Opening of Gateway Apartments could not have been more timely with the release of the 2016 Greater Homeless Count numbers, which showed yet another rise in LA County Homelessness. VCH is committed to developing solutions for the low-income and unhoused populations in our community and we hope you will continue to support us in the fight to end homelessness. 

Gateway Apartments Grand Opening

Venice Community Housing and Hollywood Community Housing Corporation celebrated the Grand Opening of Gateway Apartments on May 4th. City officials, community members, staff, and tenants all joined together at the new property to honor our supporters, partners, and especially the tenants we were able to house. Guests were invited to tour the property and 4 tenants graciously opened their homes. A very special thank you to the those who welcomed guests in their apartments, Sara and Jesus, Adolf, and Jermair. VCH is so proud to have helped 21 individuals move off the streets. 
Councilmember Mike Bonin gave a special shout out to the Del Rey Neighborhood Council who has been instrumental in the development of affordable housing in their district. Tenant speaker, Patrick, expressed his sincere gratitude for the collective support he received from various agencies to receive housing and to VCH and HCHC for the warm welcome to Gateway Apartments.

Thanks again to all our speakers and those who attended and supported the project. On to the next one! 

2016 Venice Design Series
Please join us at THE Party, the final fundraising event of the 2016 Venice Design Series. Tickets are available online or at the door.

2016 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count Results
Results from the 2016 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count have been released. The PIT (point in time) count is a snapshot of LA's homelessness on one day. The total estimated number of people experiencing homelessness in LA County is a total of 46,874 an increase of 5.7% since 2015. Venice, located in Council District 11, saw a 7% increase in homelessness, raising the total homeless population to an estimated 2,529. CD11 has the 4th largest homeless population in the City of Los Angeles. The report also noted that 18% of LA County residents meet the Federal Official Poverty Measure, but when housing costs are considered, the poverty rate jumps to 27%.

The results highlighted the reduction of veteran homelessness, which fell 30% across LA County in the past year. Many resources and funds were targeted towards the veteran population, and the large reduction shows the impact of systemically applied resource investment.  

You may view the full results here.  
20th Annual Westside Coalition Bowl-a-Thon

The staff of Venice Community Housing participated in the 20th annual Westside Coalition's Super Bowl-a-thon fundraiser. The event raised over $40,000 for the Coalition, a non-profit partnership of 42 organizations providing advocacy and coordinating homeless care and services on the Westside of Los Angeles.

VCH had 2 teams bowl and had an incredible time at the event! Our teams dressed in "America" theme and won the team spirit award of our section! We were proud to support the work of the Westside Coalition and we're already counting down the days until next year's event!

Staff Updates at VCH
Over the past month, VCH has welcomed several new staff members! Please join us in welcoming:
  • Angelica Orozco, Director of Policy and Programs
  • Damone Marshall, Services Coordinator
  • Lucia Mendez, Services Coordinator (previously TLC Program Assistant)
  • Timo Sorri, Resident Manager

To see our current employment opportunities, please click here. 

YouthBuild News
Venice YouthBuild Updates
May has been a bitter sweet month for the Venice YouthBuild family. 
The home stretch of Cycle 14 is officially underway with the youth focusing efforts on and working on projects completing their credits in preparation for graduation which is swiftly approaching. Sadly, we had to say farewell to five year Construction Trainer Jesus Rosales who will be sorely missed by everyone at VCH. Thank you Jesus for your five years of dedicated service to VCH and our YouthBuild program. Before his departure, Jesus made sure that all of the students completed their construction work so congratulations are in order as ALL the Cycle 14 students have completed their PACT certificates qualifying them all to join the construction work force if they choose to do so. 
In addition to the construction and academic efforts, the youth had worked with Grid Alternatives and Selva to successfully install solar panels twice this month. 
That time of year is upon us for Cycle 15 recruitment to get started! Interested prospective students should contact Marisol Perez at 310-963-0828 or via email at  Referrals are welcome!

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
Meridith Baer Transforms VCH's Transitional Living Center, Wowing Residents, Staff, and Kids 
In March, TLC got a complete magical makeover, spiffing up all apartments, as well as kitchen, laundry and Community Room, thanks to the amazing generosity and personal, tireless efforts of Meridith Baer, founder and president of Meridith Baer Home, a well-known-staging business.  
        When volunteer Margot Dougherty contacted Baer about providing TLC with furniture, the response was immediate and enthusiastic.  Baer exceeded many times a list of needs supplied.  When told mattresses were needed, she contacted a dealer who donated 10!  Baer assigned assistant Sashauna Dent, a former foster-care and transitional-home child, to help select furniture, photos, carpets, art from MBH's 120,000 square-foot warehouse.  Sashauna knew that bright, happy pieces were the ticket, choosing kitten and puppy photographs, bright orange mirrors, a beautiful, soft green and pink carpet. Baer herself selected furniture and finishing touches.  Sensitive to needs for low-maintenance, durable pieces, she installed 6 kid-friendly leather couches, as well as easy-to-wipe molded plastic furniture in the kitchen and laundry.  Beds, desks, armoires, drawers, tables, chairs, art, mirrors and more were added and arranged to create study and gathering spots.  Baer placed pots of flowers in every room, sheer drapes in some, and created three seating areas in the Community Room for groups.  She brought a team of five movers, who not only moved the new in and the old out, but helped moms move to different apartments. Baer, her crew, Dougherty and VCH staff, also cleaned up the Community Room, re-donating books. The team worked nonstop for two days.
        TLC's reaction was immediate and incredulous.  Residents were overwhelmed and elated:  "I can't believe this is my living room!" "Look at this carpet!  I love these colors.  It changes the whole room!"   
        Baer, enthusiastic and energetic throughout, pulling her crew together to unfold the magic, said "As I was driving home, I was so happy!  I don't feel this way working for rich people.  I love the changes we made for these families."
Our heartfelt thanks go to Baer, a truly generous benefactor, who gave cheer and uplifted the spirits of those needing it the most.  Thanks also to Dougherty who gave her all during those hectic 2 days!

From L to R: Margo Dougherty, Meridith Baer, and
Sashauna Dent. Photo: Jack Prichett 
Meridith Baer and her 5-guy moving crew in renovated gathering spot of TLC Community Room. Photo:  Jack Prichett

From nuts to bolts, an all new, inviting living area in an apartment.
Photo:  Jack Prichett

Sashauna Dent putting finishing touches on rennovated laundry.
Photo:  Jack Prichett

YouthBuild Volunteer David Borden Gets Down to the Numbers
David Borden, 20-year Venice resident, was seeking opportunities to teach again after he retired as a Math Coach for LAUSD.  He heard about VCH's YouthBuild program for at-risk youth. This was just the opportunity he sought, so he applied.  That was 3 years ago and Borden is still happily tutoring YB members.  He also helps recruit more volunteers and bring them on board.
        Borden is excited about "working with YB's young adults who want another chance to change their lives and make amends for their past when they didn't graduate high school in their teens.  These people are motivated to learn and succeed!  I love being a part of the hope and excitement.  I also love the one-to-one connections I have with these students so that their learning experience is real and builds self-confidence.  It's great to see them have that 'now-I-get-it' light go on!" 
        It's also great that VCH has such a devoted volunteer and YB tutor.  Many thanks, David!
David Borden (r) instructing YB student 
VDS Volunteers Plan and Work Out Details for LADT Tour 
VCH kicked off its annual Venice Design Series with the Downtown LA Tour on April 30, 2016.  It was a full day, starting at 8:30 AM at Superba for breakfast and ending back in Venice at 5:00 PM, after being guided through some of Los Angeles' famous and even hidden sites.   Guests entered a "secret" access tunnel from a speakeasy used during Prohibition, located in the basement of the Rosslyn Hotel.  The Rosslyn, an RSO, offers much-needed affordable and homeless housing.  
Throughout volunteers Susan Moore and Lynne Southerland helped manage everything from check-in, name tags, water bottles, snacks and the route while keeping the scheduling and transportation on course.  The two volunteers gave their time and expertise to last-year's very successful inaugural VDS series, attending each of the events, as they plan to do again this year.  VCH thanks them for their tireless contributions!
Susan Moore and Lynne Southerland reviewing tour details, as the bus transports guests to downtown LA. Photo:  Jack Prichett
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.

*Requested Items from local unhoused community members*
- Art supplies (coloring books, blank notebooks, colored pencils, markers, etc.)
- Micro USB phone chargers
- Portable phone chargers

Upcoming Shop Days:
May 20
June 24
July 15

Please bring donations to our office located at 720 Rose Avenue in Venice, Mon - Fri 10am-2pm. 
Did you know...
Calling 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service connecting people in need with services. See a homeless individual or person in need? Try calling 2-1-1 instead of LAPD


Quick Links

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Voting is one of the most important rights we have as citizens. Familiarize yourself with the ballot initiatives and the candidates.

To vote in the June 7th Presidential Primaries you must be a registered voter by May 23rd! For a voter registration card, please contact our office at (310)399-4100 x200.

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
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