VENICE- In his weekly addresses on social media Wednesday, Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva released new data obtained by the Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) for the Venice Boardwalk.
Villanueva told viewers that the HOST team started its assessment in June, a few weeks prior to Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Encampment to Home program.
Numbers gleaned from information collected by sheriff's deputies show that at its highest peak--more than 250 people on the boardwalk had moved to the area from 23 different states and two countries included Germany and Iraq.
Villanueva also broke down demographics of who was occupying encampments. Deputies found that 70 percent of homeless individuals were male, 29 percent female and 1 percent transgender.
Villanueva once again pointed to failed policies by Bonin and Mayor Garcetti for the crisis on the boardwalk. Villanueva also called out Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent $12 billion dollar proposal as big financial mistake. Villanueva said Newsom should look no further than the $6 billion spent in the last six years by Los Angeles as to why not to move forward with proposal. “The [LA County] homeless population grew from 39,000 to 82,000 while spending $6 billion. If our homeless population doubled during that time, why spend significantly more?”
Villanueva also said the governor is inviting more people from others states to come to California with an open door policy--adding that word on the street is if you come to California you will get free stuff, possibly free housing. Villanueva said that is something LA County can no longer handle or afford to have happen. “ LA County has half of the state’s entire homeless population. Governor, if you wish to have them--invite them where you are. In LA County our hands full.”
The sheriff also said there is a great need for mental health facilities and beds.
Villanueva ended by saying that he continues to see tourists posting the “horrors of Venice.” Adding that he will continue to establish a very visible presence on beaches from Malibu to Marina del Rey. “We want people to go [to the beach] and know that it’s safe.”