Officials say more than 200 homeless people were moved from the Venice Beach Boardwalk, once the site of a massive encampment that became the flashpoint of the homeless crisis in Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, KTLA found the boardwalk largely free of the tents that had quickly proliferated at the L.A. landmark over the past year.
This comes after the end of a six-week initiative to give those living in the encampment a pathway to permanent housing.
Of 211 People moved off the boardwalk, 185 are currently in interim housing, 22 were in hotel or motel rooms acquired through Project Roomkey and four were permanently housed, according to L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin’s office.
So far, 116 of the homeless people have been matched to permanent housing resources, according to St. Joseph Center, which led the outreach effort on the boardwalk.
One 26-year-old woman, who had been living on the Venice boardwalk before moving to a Project Roomkey room, told KTLA she was hesitant but ultimately accepted housing to try to regain custody of her 3-year-old son.
Now the young mother and animator, Nas Thomas, says she’s ready to go back to work in the food and beverage industry.
“It leaves me more time to draw and really think about my foundation, and what I’m gonna do next,” Thomas said.
Thomas is staying at Cadillac Hotel in Venice, not far from where the large boardwalk encampment was.
While many tents were cleared from the L.A. landmark, the work isn’t done yet, according to Bonin’s office.
“The program doesn’t end when there are no tents on the boardwalk,” Bonin said in an email. “The program ends when every person has gotten into permanent housing.”
At last count, there were nearly 2,000 homeless people in Venice, according to a Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority count done in January 2020 that found more than 41,000 unhoused people citywide. (This year’s count was skipped due to the pandemic, but experts expect those L.A. figures to continue climbing into 2023.)