Venice temporary homeless shelter opens with 154 beds, some dedicated to youth living on streets

VENICE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A homeless shelter with 100 beds for adults and 54 beds for young people opened Tuesday in Venice as officials continue to try and tackle the homelessness crisis across the city.

The Pacific Sunset site is part of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's A Bridge Home initiative which aims to build a new shelter in each city council district. It's the tenth shelter under the program, bringing the total number of beds made available by the program to 673.

The site is the first under the program to be partially dedicated to serving "transitional age youth" who are experiencing homelessness, according to officials.

"Around 60 percent of youth that age out of foster care experience homelessness at one point in their (life)," said Alison Hurst, director of L.A.'s Safe Place for Youth. "But also youth that are coming from families that have just (been) unable to afford to accommodate them anymore."

The first 31 residents moved in Tuesday and the rest will begin moving in over the next week.

"Opening bridge housing (and confronting our homelessness crisis) has not been pleasant, and it has not been easy. But the alternative is knowing that we did nothing while people continued to die on our streets. That's unacceptable," said Councilman Mike Bonin in a tweet, adding that another 100-bed bridge-housing shelter would be opening in a few weeks at the VA in Brentwood.

Aside from beds, the facility will offer washing supplies, and each youth will receive a bag of essentials. Hurst said the trailers where the young residents will sleep were specifically designed to look more like dorm rooms. Case management resources will also be available to help the residents find a path toward permanent housing.

For some, it will be the most reliable home they've ever had, officials said.

"It's going to have an enormous impact on how youth experience homelessness in Venice for the next three years," Hurst said.

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