Assets and Risks

There are many assets in the community, especially for the homeless community. Venice beach is a melting pot of Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and Whites—this creates a strong diversity in the community. Diversity is good because it makes people more aware of different cultures of different ethnicities. During my “Team Fertig” group I have learned about many established resources for the homeless community. I will name some of the major agencies and/or facilities that our “Team Fertig” visited and explain how they are accessible to the community:

  • Venice Family Clinics: They provide free medical treatment to the homeless and lower income families. This facility is the largest free clinic in the nation! I thought it was amazing to be present in a facility that seemed well established. They are known “to turn no one away!” During our meeting, the clinic appears to have a strong sense of collaboration with different agencies like the local police and community housing corporations (just to name a few). The clinic seems to be well knowledgeable about their homeless issues and they present as though they have strong sense of unity. It sounds like the homeless people have “got it made” in Venice with this place on their side.
  • Alice White Theatre: Introduced by activist Hayward-this supports acting for children.
  • St. Joseph Center: Services for homeless, low income families, and individuals. They provide but not limited to child care, food, and counseling services
  • Vera Davis McClendon Center: services for youth. The facility is a place where the youth/adolescents in the community can come and utilize resources. They can get free books to job referrals.

People in Venice are known to have an artistic, poetic, and creative nature known as the “Beats Generation”. The beats were bohemian Hedonists, people that had untraditional antiestablishment lifestyles. Because of these early lifestyle influences the community was left with the traits of the Beat era from the 1940-1960s.

There are many risks in the community…homelessness, locals “slanging” and using drugs, and gang problems. The homelessness is caused and is a result of many social dysfunctions. Many say Homelessness is a product of our failed methods in the community. Another contributing factor to homelessness is gentrification. Many affluent people were attracted to buying housing in the community many years ago because of the perks of purchasing cheap houses near the beach. Many affluent people took advantage of this perk and thus causing gentrification. Gentrification causes an imbalance in affordable housing thus contributing to the homelessness. Recently the gang issues are not that prevalent. The gangs wars have softened up compare to strong gang wars in the early ninety’s, but there are still some strong traces. According to the panel of community leaders, there were many people dying from gang shootings and gang retaliation wars back in the early nineties. Some of the gang issues were between Shoreline Crips and Venice 13 (to name a few). Today our group walked in Oakwood without the worries of being shot or killed by gang violence. Mona our “tour guide” (she works for Venice Family Clinics) walked us through the Oakwood communities and shared her stories of people slanging drug on the popular corner, 6th and Brooks. She also heard that even people in Paris new about this infamous corner.

Listed are some of the main themes of the risks in the community:

  • Because of the strong gang violence and drug problems that surfaced from the 1940 and 1960s there are strong drug issues today in the community.
  • Out of work residents supply and sell drugs in the community.
  • Gentrification-squeezing out locals causing many to be homeless.
  • Gentrification causing local small business rent--making it too expensive to run—people are shopping at the bigger stores like Ralphs
  • Aesthetically--Many of the homes in Oakwood have high fences creating a sense of un-welcomeness
  • No convalescent homes-where do the elders go when they are too old to care for themselves.

Due to the Gentrification—housing has become extremely unaffordable. More and More affluent people are moving into the community and are trying to rid of the local homeless population because they are trying to “clean the streets” due to this “not in my backyard” mentality many of the affluent and new people in the community do not want to help the homeless services. They believe by helping the local homeless services they are supporting the homeless in their community.

Outside Perspective of Assets:

It is popular tour site as well as Southern Californian attraction in Southern California.

Venice Boardwalk includes some of the most interesting people such as many performers and vendors. Like any other communities nearby beach areas, Venice community is well known for their beach. The boardwalk along the Venice beach seemed perfect place to enjoy, relax and exercise. Many vendors were selling their unique handmade goods which attracted many tourists. Also, Venice has been a place for several movie scenes and television shows. It is likely that more tourists are attracted to see those places. In addition, Venice is for the young artists, poets, and writers who just love the atmosphere of Venice, being vibrant and energetic.

Insider Perspectives of Risks:

The homeless are huge trademark for the locals. The homeless the community knows are usually quiet and keep to themselves. There are different types of homeless people. If you talk to a homeless person you can find different types of stories of lost dreams and lost hope. According to Fertig’s statistics 41 percent of the homeless are women and children. On the flip side you might find some homeless people that choose to be homeless and like living in the streets and/or cars. But many seem unhappy and want to get out of the cycle, but cannot…because they are stuck in their struggles. One of the homeless people told us a story about one homeless found dead in the sand a few month ago. Also, I was informed that the Blank and Latino gangs have conflicts time to time living across the streets in Venice, but not as invasive as in the early nineties. Neighborhood of Venice can be a dangerous place where many drug dealers live and gangs dwell.

submitted by: Stella Han and Eunyoung Kum

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