Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mike Bonin celebrated the opening of the Pacific Sunset A Bridge Home facility in Venice, which will provide 100 beds for homeless adults and 54 beds for transitional age youth. The Mayor and Councilmember were joined at the ceremony by representatives from People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and Safe Place for Youth (SPY), as well as numerous community leaders.
“The homeless and housing crisis is a citywide challenge that requires citywide solutions,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Today’s opening is a reminder that people across Los Angeles are saying ‘yes’ to delivering the housing, healing, and hope our unhoused neighbors need and deserve.”
The Pacific Sunset site is the tenth A Bridge Home facility to open, bringing the total number of beds made available by the program to 673. The city remains on-track to stand up a total of 26 A Bridge Home sites, filled with about 2,000 beds, by July 1. This site features 100 beds for single adults — 66 men and 34 women — and 54 beds for transitional age youth — 36 men and 18 women. Pacific Sunset is the first A Bridge Home site to be partially dedicated to serving young people experiencing homelessness.
“Today we finally begin to welcome people indoors,” said Councilmember Bonin. “A roof and a bed will replace a tent and a sidewalk for many of our unhoused neighbors who have been sleeping in encampments in Venice. This is a big and important step in our long march to confront our homelessness crisis.”
The A Bridge Home program, championed by Mayor Garcetti and other city and county officials, is designed to provide individuals in homeless encampments on nearby sidewalks with temporary, safe, secure housing and services acting as a bridge to permanent housing. The initiative is a critical piece of the L.A. region’s overall efforts to build a comprehensive system to bring homeless Angelenos indoors. With the opening of this facility, city sanitation teams will work to clean and restore spaces previously occupied by encampments.
Services for adults at Pacific Sunset will be operated by People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), while youth services will be coordinated by Safe Place for Youth (SPY) — both organizations have strong ties to the Venice community. PATH helped house more than 100 people who were living in their vehicles in Venice and recently partnered with Los Angeles World Airports to serve and successfully house people living in large encampments near LAX. The organization operates transitional housing in West L.A. and provides permanent supportive housing at a building in Del Rey. SPY also has deep ties to the surrounding community and was founded in Venice and focuses its services in the area. SPY jointly operates bridge housing for youth at locations in Mar Vista and Westwood.
“Bridge housing is an important first step in the process of moving our most vulnerable into permanent supportive housing. We are grateful for the partnership of Safe Place for Youth, local organizations and the support of Councilmember Bonin and Venice community members for helping us move people living on the streets into a safe home,” said Jennifer Hark-Dietz, Executive Director of PATH.
“I am filled with gratitude as we begin to welcome home the first residents of the Sunset Bridge site,” said Alison Hurst, Executive Director of Safe Place for Youth. “Since founding SPY almost a decade ago, our team of dedicated community volunteers and passionate staff have advocated strongly for an increase in youth-specific services in Venice. Together with our partners at PATH, we get to witness the resilient spirit of the 154 guests that will walk through our door and watch them thrive as they find safety off the streets.”
Pacific Sunset was designed based on community input, and Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin worked to ensure Venice residents were included during all stages of the process. Once the first 154 individuals are settled in the facility, community organizations and neighbors will begin working with PATH and SPY to host classes, courses, and other opportunities to help people transition off the street. Already, local organizations including St. Joseph Center, Chamber of Hope, Venice Family Clinic, SHARE!, LA:RISE, Chrysalis, A Window Between Worlds, and Pals N Pets have agreed to offer services at Pacific Sunset. The site also features murals by local artists Patrick Marston, Michael Brunt, and Francisco Letelier, and will include a community garden that will be maintained by residents, with the assistance of local organization Community Healing Gardens.
“To be successful, Pacific Sunset must be of and by Venice, and not just in it,” said Councilmember Bonin. “That’s why I’m so grateful to our community partners and to all the neighbors who supported and pushed hard for this project, demanding solutions and insisting that Venice says yes to them.”
“This is a proud day for the Venice community. We’ve shown the city and the world how everyday citizens can step up and champion innovative and empathetic solutions that reduce homelessness and saves lives,” added Will Hawkins, a Venetian who helped champion Pacific Sunset when it was considered by the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee and who now leads the non-profit organization Chamber of Hope.
Since taking office, Mayor Garcetti has acted with unprecedented urgency to confront the homelessness and housing crisis — from expanding the homelessness budget to 25 times what it was four years ago, to fighting for and securing additional state funds that have gone toward projects like the Pacific Sunset A Bridge Home facility. Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin also helped lead the coalition to pass Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond designed to leverage financing to more than triple L.A.’s annual production of supportive housing and support the addition of 10,000 units for homeless Angelenos across the city.
Submitted by David Graham-Caso