The second annual "Sleep Out" to promote solutions for the homeless issue in Venice will be held Saturday night at Beyond Baroque.
The overnight event will start Saturday at 4 p.m. and end with a free breakfast Sunday at 10 a.m. It is being sponsored by Beyond Baroque and Occupy Venice, said Deborah LaShever, one of the event organizers. Other supporters include: , the nonprofit Venice Community Housing Corporation, Venice Justice Committee, Venice Food Not Bombs, SPARC, Heartbeat of Venice, Venice Action Alliance, Venice Family Clinic, the Free Venice Beachhead and the Venice Arts Council.
The inaugural event was held in August 2011 and was sponsored by the Venice Community Housing Corporation to send a message that police action and marginalization of the homeless were not solutions to the homeless problem.
This year's event will include free food donated by local organizations and restuarants, a silent auction of art created by housed and homeless artists and a screening of the 2002 documentary "Rubber Tramps," which features Ken Kesey and focuses on people living on the road.
The intent of the event is to pursue real solutions to improve the situation for the homeless and the Venice community, LaShever said. For example, organizers have begun pursuing a check-in center where homeless people can stash their belongings during the day and retrieve them before going to sleep at night. A storage system would allow the homeless to more easily go to clinics or downtown to pay for tickets, LaShever said.
"Right now they are chained to their stuff," she said. "Some businesses do complain of trash everywhere and this would solve that problem for a lot of people."
People of all ages are invited to camp out with other members of the community on the Beyond Baroque grounds and there will be music and food Sunday morning.
The event was not a protest, but about seeking solutions and community unity, LaShever said, noting that Occupy Venice was intent on seeking solutions over protests.
"This is a real, feel good, old fashioned/new fashioned community event. We want to make evident that this community can --and actually likes to---come together, and that using police brutality to solve problems is not the Venice way--solving issues together as a humane and creative community absolutely is," LaShever said in an Aug. 9 email.
Anyone with questions, donations, problems or ideas should contact LaShever at 424-272-1128.