****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
VENICE COMMUNITY MEMBERS UNITE IN PROTEST AND ISSUE A PLEA TO END HOMELESSNESS.
June 2, 2007 – Venice, California
A large group of Venice residents spoke out in protest Saturday, June 2, 2007 in downtown LA outside of the St. Joseph’s annual fundraiser dinner, denouncing homelessness as big business.
There is no end in sight for L.A.’s growing homeless problem and charities have used this issue as a platform to raise charity funds for years. With the announcement of the $2.05 billion Grand Ave. Project in February 2007, LAPD has been working overtime to clean up Skid Row - pushing the homeless to outlying areas like Venice, who are in turn overrun with the homeless population.
Historically known for their compassion, Venice homeowners cannot handle the large number of homeless who are now sleeping on their sidewalks and in their alleys, defecating on their property, and creating health issues in their city. St. Joseph Center has told the residents of Venice that 70% of the people they serve in their Day Center have some sort of mental illness. Since the Day Center is open only from 7:30am to 4:30pm there is an abnormally high concentration of their clients in a tiny residential area.
As reported in February 2007, HUD did not allocate $12.5 million in funding to L.A. due because L.A. failed to spend one-fourth of federal money available. Organizations like St. Joseph need to work toward the goal of ending homelessness - not fundraising. St. Joseph should work with the community to create a productive and safe long term solution. Arthur Kessler, long time Venice resident commented “St. Joseph snuck the homeless services center in to the Flower & Lincoln location without any notification. If you think this doesn’t concern you think again. It can happen in your neighborhood unless social services like SJC publicly disclose their plans.”
One Venice resident commented on the Venice community website www.livinginvenice.org “It is frustrating to watch our neighborhood being slowly transformed in to a garbage pit of trash, litter and human feces.”
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