Venice Beach homeless encampments and what is being done

Originally published at: Venice Beach homeless encampments and what is being done | Boing Boing


Until solutions like the previously mentioned tiny home village are set up to treat homeless people with respect (drug and alcohol screening that wouldn’t apply to someone that can afford housing combined with prison like security are non starters) I see a major challenge in convincing people to leave their tents.

It’s a shame help always comes with so many demands. Even shelters with what may sound like minimal rules can be exclusionary. For example “no shopping carts” at shelters may not sound offensive but then you realize you are asking people to leave all their possessions unsecured…


A tiny house village is like an apartment building split up so that each apartment gets its own piece of land. It seems needlessly wasteful, a form of conspicuous consumption.

Yes to homes for the unhoused. No to lawns and airspace for the unhoused (or anybody, really).

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If land in California is at a premium and the homeless have nowhere to go how is it decided on where to build these tiny homes? I’m curious where the land for such projects come from.


Sadly, they homeless are coming to the deserts [LA basin is emptying out]. This is really terrible for them, no services are present, and they are miles from any form of help/assistance. I keep water jugs in my truck, not a week goes by that I don’t find some poor soul wandering around dehydrated / disorientated, and hungry while I’m out with the pup. The Desert is no place for green horns, it can kill you if you give it half a chance.


Rose Aguilar’s radio show “Your Call” is doing a show today on the Oakland Moms For Housing, homeless mothers who squatted an empty corporate-owned house in their neighborhood, West Oakland. After a long struggle, the home has become cooperative housing. The show focuses on corporate buying & flipping of housing in historically Black neighborhoods. One statistic cited was that seven out of ten homeless people in Oakland are African American.


I’m quite impressed with (enough to personally contribute to) the approach taken by Youth Spirit Artworks’ Tiny House Empowerment Village, which I got to visit last Friday for the ribbon-cutting.

A #cohousing style approach with future resident engagement in the planning and co-creation and management. In this case specifically serving younger adults, some kicked out of their homes for coming out; others who may have aged out of the foster-care system.

It is temporarily on a city surplus property next to the Oakland Coliseum, by the airport, but all is designed to be mobile. And designed to transform lives, not just be walls and a ceiling as a temporary shelter.

  • 26 secure 8′ x 10′ Tiny Houses with
  • Murphy beds
  • windows
  • skylight
  • storage
  • electricity
  • furnishings
  • heated floors
  • On-site communal bathrooms and showers
  • A kitchen yurt for residents to cook weekly communal meals and securely store their own food
  • A community gathering space for meetings
  • On-site Resident Assistants who live in the community

As a part of living at the Village, all residents will be engaged in building a strong and connected community. Youth- and volunteer-led clubs will give residents many opportunities for personal and professional growth, including access to training and mentorship in the following areas: artmaking, art entrepreneurship and sales, nonprofit management, gardening, sewing, medicine, music, biking and exercise, cooking, construction, and more. Residents will be supported in developing a responsibility to the community at large, achieved through connections to local faith organizations and active involvement with local social justice projects. Additionally, all residents at the Village will take part in YSA’s core jobs training program, where they will receive wrap-around case management services and engage in youth-led workshops around healthy interpersonal relationships, restorative practices, and more.

I’ve got some great panoramic photos of it I could put up as CC; I believe it is Boing-worthy on its own.


If you’re trying to get people off the streets in a hurry it’s a helluva lot quicker and simpler to put together a tiny house village from mobile prefabricated units than to build a brand new multistory apartment building.


On my afternoon bike rides, I traverse the Venice Beach encampment since it spills onto the beach bike path. I’ve been shoulder checked off my bike. I’ve been surrounded and intimidated. I’ve been chased by a crazy person wielding a knife. I’ve been shouted at many many times. Over the course of the pandemic, the situation at the beach has gotten significantly worse than I’ve ever seen it. I really resent these encampments. But even more than that, I hate that as a society we’ve allowed things to get this bad here.

That being said, I think it’s a bit reductionistic to say the problem is a result of economics and not mental issues or addiction. Homelessness is a complex problem. It’s both the chicken and the egg. They are both a problem and a symptom of the current situation.

I wish I had the right expertise to help solve the problem and do more than just squawking online and donating to local charities.


Where are they coming from? Displaced from their homes/lives in other desert towns? From LA/SF? From other regions of the US?

The challenges of mental illness and addiction have not fundamentally changed in the United States over the last couple of generations, or at least not since Reagan defunded all those mental health providers circa 1981.

The basic economics of housing in California have seen profound changes during that time period that track very closely to the increased numbers of houseless individuals in places like Venice Beach.


Why not make designated camping areas? The land around Vista Del Mar Park or the land next to Marina Del Rey could offer hundreds of campsites.

I agree. But a new/additional variable in the calculation doesn’t negate the others. It just makes the problem harder to solve.

Gorgeousness and gorgeosity made real…I mean yeah, homelessness in LA is sad and probably getting worse by the day but come on. Just LOOK at this place.

The land next to Marina Del Rey is a wetland swamp wildlife preserve. No development is allowed on that land. The Vista Del Mar neighborhood land that was bought and plowed under by the airport, that land IS on the list of places being considered for camping, parking, and services. I think it’s a great use of unutilized land.

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Just to be clear, we have a policy against making assumptions about people, including mental state, on this board unless reported elsewhere first.

Undoubtedly terrible handling of mental health in the US plays a role in a myriad of circumstances, however, unless we’ve specifically seen reporting that a contingent of the Venice Beach homeless population is part of this group, please don’t extend that assumption independently.


Solving the lack of affordable, desirable housing should be its own effort.

All the screaming people mad about how homelessness as an insult to property taxpayers are a big clue as to why this problem has been so hard to solve. It requires compassion. Most folks want to see homelessness “cured” to clean up their streets and not to have to see homeless people, they do not care about the people they see being better off, except that it is probably coincidental. If the homeless people are just gone and not helped, frequently that seems OK to many.

We have:

Housed people having trouble paying their bills
Unhoused people having trouble paying bills

Housed people having trouble getting affordable medical care
Unhoused people having trouble getting affordable medical care

Housed people with untreated mental health issues
Unhoused people with untreated mental health issues

Housed people addicted to drugs
Unhoused people addicted to drugs

Housed people committing crimes
Unhoused people committing crimes

We do not have: Housed people without a home.

We have many unhoused people who will be better of if they have a home.

The key factor that does not seem to be the jurisdiction of another problem-solving group is “How do we get people into homes they want to be in?”

The groups in LA responsible for this are blocking one another and the activists only want to see it solved with exactly their approach. Anything else is inhumane, even other activists.


That is the crux of it.
And to add: in my experience, so much of being able to do that and also have it be somewhat sustainable requires some cohesive sense of community, ideally springing from the same people being housed.

Some of the best situations I found myself in were encampments that had some kind of self governance, to make sure people weren’t defecating in the water supply by digging latrines, or were helping share out food when we had a bounty.
All this is just to say, yes, shelter and security are paramount. And additionally I think any effort that works to empower residents to take a role (as they are willing and able) in creating and maintaining their community is way more likely to succeed long term as a housing solution.
My work now focuses on helping people stay in their homes, but my hat’s off to all those working directly to find homes for those who’ve slipped out. :heart:


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