Brentwood and Venice bridge housing shelters see installation of membrane structures
By Sam Catanzaro
Membrane structures have been installed at two bridge housing centers, which will house over 200 individuals combined including homeless veterans, in Brentwood and Venice.
In Brentwood, a membrane structure that will house up to 100 homeless veterans at the West Los Angeles VA Campus was recently installed as the shelter nears completion following a series of delays.
Once complete, the site will include two 40’ x 120’ tension membrane structures and modular trailers, which will be located within the VA campus near existing buildings and services.
The site will offer roughly 100 beds for currently homeless veterans, as well as storage for residents, personal hygiene and laundry facilities, supportive and community engagement services, and 24-hour security.
“As the sites prepare to open, outreach workers will begin building trust with people experiencing homelessness, so people currently living in encampments in Venice, as well as veterans experiencing homelessness on the Westside, will be ready to move in when the facilities both open,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, referring to a bridge housing center set to open in Venice as well.
This bridge housing facility will be temporary — and not to be visible from the exterior of the campus — as the VA constructs out its Draft Master Plan, which will provide 1200 units of permanent supportive housing on the campus.
The facility was expected to open in early 2019, but crews experienced a delay on the site when they uncovered old pipes that needed special attention as the site was prepared for the temporary structures.
In addition, mud from a rainy winter and asbestos that was discovered hindered the project.
Also nearing completion on the Westside is a 154-bed bridge housing shelter in Venice, a project that has been the center of a debate between supporters and opponents since its inception.
Earlier this month, the installation of trailers and a membrane structure began at the bridge housing shelter in Venice that will provide 154 beds for homeless individuals at the old MTA lot on Main Street.
Trailers for youth housing have also been installed and the membrane structure that will provide housing for adults arrived at the property as well.
PATH will be the lead operator of the site and will work with the Venice-based SPY, which will also provide services at the temporary facility, which will provide 100 beds for adults and 54 beds for youth.
On December 13, a Venice Stakeholder’s Association (VSA) petition to halt the construction of the shelter was denied by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff. VSA argued that AB 1197 – a new Los Angeles-specific state law providing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions for emergency shelters and permanent supportive housing – should not apply retroactively on the bridge housing shelter since lawmakers approved the project before AB 1197 went into effect.
“AB 1197 on its face does not apply retroactively and California courts do not apply new laws retroactively absent clear direction from the Legislature to do so,” wrote Jeffrey Lewis, counsel for VSA in a letter to Los Angeles City Council last month. “The City would be better served by conceding this point, following the law and going through the CEQA process to serve the residents surrounding the Project location. The faster that the City initiates the CEQA process, the sooner it can begin serving.”