Councilman Bill Rosendahl made a heartfelt and ultimately successful bid Tuesday for the county to start an overnight shelter program for the Venice's homeless population early this year.
Residents and business people, as well as homeless advocates, have been alarmed by a growing number of people sleeping on the boardwalk this fall.
The annual winter shelter program, which buses homeless people from the boardwalk to shelters in West L.A. or Culver City, begins Dec. 1, but Rosendahl has secured $110,000 in city funds to start a temporary emergency shelter program this month. The temporary program will work the same way the winter shelter program works, and will run through Nov. 30.
At a Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) meeting on Tuesday, the commission of the city/county organization voted 9-0 vote (with one abstention) to enter into a contract with First to Serve that would begin as soon as Oct. 15.
But the vote was hard won.
"[Councilman] Rosendahl was amazing. He fought all the way," said Brad Neal, a Venice resident and property owner who is co-chairing the Venice Neighborhood Council's Emergency Safety and Shelter Program and attended the LAHSA commission meeting.
Neal said that initially three LAHSA commissioners were going to abstain, despite the fact that the funding is coming from the city and that everyone who spoke at the meeting – residents and homeless advocates alike – were in favor of the plan.
"It really was Bill Rosendahl, in my opinion," Neal said. "He held his ground."
City Council must now approve the funding, $90,000 of which will come from the city's community development grants, and another $20,000 of which will be transfered from the Roadmap to Housing program. The council is expected to vote Tuesday.
Correction: An earlier version of this article refered to the temporary program as an extension of the winter shelter program. Although the two programs will run the same way and will provide continuous shelter through March 15, they are, in fact, different programs.