L.A. City Council Committee Approves Mike Bonin Proposal to Study Homeless Shelters at Beaches

Mike Bonin (Jason Kempin / Getty for Venice Family Clinic)
Jason Kempin / Getty for Venice Family Clinic

The Los Angeles City Council’s Homeless and Poverty Committee voted 4-1 Thursday to authorize a study for a controversial proposal by Councilmember Mike Bonin to build temporary shelters for the homeless at local beaches, among other sites.

As Breitbart News reported last month:

Los Angeles City Council member Mike Bonin has proposed sheltering the city’s growing homeless populations in facilities at local beaches on the Pacific Ocean, provoking the ire of local residents who rely on the beaches for recreation.

Touting what he calls an “everything in” approach to homelessness, Bonin posted his plan last week, which includes a motion to study a “temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping at the county-owned parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach” in Pacific Palisades; similar sites at Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey and Fisheran’s Village in Marina Del Rey; and a “temporary site specifically for RV safe parking at the county-owned parking lot” at Dockweiler.

Bonin includes suggestions for several additional sites on the west side of Los Angeles. His motion does not address the environmental impact of homeless encampments on public beaches, including sewage, drug use, crime, or other problems.

The county’s beaches have been one of the few refuges for local residents during the coronavirus pandemic, when other recreation sites were closed or restricted. The city council used public recreation centers as temporary homeless shelters.

Many local residents were furious.

The Venice Current reported Thursday:

 

More than 19,000 opponents of the motion have signed a change.org petition against the creation of camping sites and tiny home sites in westside beaches and parks.

In a message to constituents on Wednesday,  Bonin defended his motion.  “These are not encampments. They are an emergency response — an alternative — to encampments, and they are temporary solutions meant to get people off the streets and into homes,” Bonin wrote in an email to constituents with the subject line “The Truth.”

The same promises were made to Venice and Brentwood when Bonin and Mayor Eric Garcetti presented the bridge home concept to the communities. Before moving forward with the projects Bonin told residents: “The promise of ABH Bridge housing is a model of temporary housing that offers service-enriched programs aimed at quickly bringing the homeless off the streets and helping them rebuild their lives.”

Neighbors that surround the [temporary] shelters say they have seen anything but. Violent crime outside the Venice Bridge Home increased 88 percent since opening its doors. The number of encampments outside both ABH facilities have  increased significantly. In Venice, 154 residents are housed in the ABH on Sunset Avenue and Main Street, while more than 200 people are now camping on adjacent sidewalks. Some of those encampments are former ABH residents who have been kicked out or left.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that fires at homeless encampments are becoming a “growing crisis,” noting: “In the first quarter of 2021, they occurred at a rate of 24 a day, making up 54% of all fires the [local] department responded to.”

Bonin’s attempt to defend his proposal as a way to restore local access to parks and beaches in the long run can be found here.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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