The Real Deal Los Angeles

Venice nonprofit cites a 1950 court order to stop homelessness measure

Council member's proposal would convert a senior center into a storage facility

June 08, 2016 10:30AM

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Councilmember Mike Bonin and 1234 Pacific Avenue

Council member Mike Bonin and 1234 Pacific Avenue in Venice

Community preservationists are set on preventing a homeless storage facility from invading Venice. Now, they’re saying the law is on their side.

Under Los Angeles City Council member Mike Bonin’s plan, proposed in April, the city would convert the Westminster Senior Center into a storage site for as many as 160 homeless people, in collaboration with nonprofit organization Chrysalis, which already operates storage sites in downtown Los Angeles. The storage center would help reduce public encampment, advocates say.

But members of the Venice Stakeholders Association argue that the conversion at 1234 Pacific Avenue is prohibited under a 1950 court order that condemned the property to the city as strictly for public use for recreation.

The site of the hypothetical storage center “has been a crime generator for years,” Venice Stakeholders Association President Mary Ryavec told My News L.A. The proposal, she said, “to attract hundreds of transients to the site to store their stuff would have just exacerbated the problem.”

Under California law, the property at hand is permitted only for specific purposes, according to the association’s attorney, Robert Glushon.

Bonin said in a statement that city attorney are currently looking into the issue, Meanwhile, he and his coworkers will continue to address homelessness in the city.

“We have a choice between the status quo of allowing sidewalks and streets full of encampments, or offering people a safe place to keep their personal belongings while getting them connected to the services that will get them off the street permanently,” he said. [MyNewsLA.com] Cathaleen Chen