Los Angeles is grappling with a homeless epidemic. "It's the worst human catastrophe in America," says Andy Bales, a pastor who runs the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row. Faced with a growing crisis, city leaders last year budgeted more than $100 million for affordable housing, addiction treatment, job placement and mental health services. And yet, as L.A.'s real estate prices soar, so does the city's homeless population. And nowhere have the twin forces of inaccessible housing and inequality created a more explosive mix than in Venice Beach, a hotbed of entertainment executives and talent where the median home price is $1.9 million. Many of these residents are now grappling with a quality-of-life issue that defies their own liberal ideals.
Venice is now home to the largest concentration of homeless anywhere on L.A.'s Westside, with nearly 1,000 non-domiciled people. During the past 18 months, several encampments have swelled in more residential areas where homes can easily sell for eight figures and up.
No one expects Venice to resolve its homeless issue soon, if ever. For now it remains a worrisome microcosm for one of L.A.'s most intractable questions: How much burden should homeowners bear for transients? And perhaps more important, where do we expect them to go?
These are some exerts from a great recent article in the Hollywood Reporter. We've heard all the statistics, we know all the arguments for and against the homeless here in Los Angeles and specifically in Venice Beach. Yet, we know that the human beings caught in the middle of these debates are real and have intrinsic value.
Last month we were able to hand out 15 hygiene kits + 5 feminine hygienic kits + socks, soap, hats, fresh fruit and water. We are in awe of those who come out to intentionally spend time with the forgotten and overlooked and those who some might say are our burdens of society. What we get back in return is mind blowing. I feel its a privilege to serve those on the streets.
If you are ever curious in what we do please let me know. We would love to share this experience with you!