Sexual Predator Moved into Venice Neighborhood

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Photo: Westside Current

When a sexual predator moved into the Ramada Inn on Washington Boulevard in Venice in early 2022, neighbors were told that nothing could be done. The site, now a transitional homeless shelter, is near three school/preschools and abuts a residential neighborhood.

PATH Ventures (People Assisting the Homeless), a nonprofit, had signed an agreement with the City that said there would be no prerequisites for the homeless occupying rooms, such as employment or sobriety. That meant the sexual predator had to be given a room – as long as he was not on probation, parole or in violation of his parole.

THE RAMADA INN:

The Venice Ramada was sold to L.A. City in December 2020 for transitional housing for the homeless. Nearby residents, schools and businesses were not notified of the sale or its change of use.

L.A. City Council had authorized funds to purchase the 33-room Ramada Inn for $10,200,207.

“It took many of us by surprise,” one neighbor said during a two-hour public meeting about the proposed conversion. “There was no outreach, and letters to notify us of the project weren’t sent. Many of us found out by word of mouth after a notice was taped to the [Ramada Inn] building,” another neighbor said during the same meeting. “We felt blindsided.”

More than 400 residents and businesses went to the Board of Public Works asking them to stop the project as it was presented. Coastal access and lodging for all income levels was one concern for the appellants.

Robin Rudisill– the former chair of Venice’s Land Use and Planning Committee — pointed out that the Ramada Inn gave access to hard-working families who couldn’t otherwise afford hotels on the beach or boutique alternatives. “Taking away affordable hotels like the Ramada is likely to change the character of Venice for decades to come,” Rudisill said.

But the City wrote in its Coastal Development Permit that “There is low demand for low-cost lodging in Venice, such as this hotel, since most tourists who visit Venice prefer destination type and boutique brand hotels. For those visitors who do prefer low-budget coastal accommodations, there are options to stay at a bed and breakfast or at other low-budget visitor accommodations in the Coastal Zone communities adjacent to Venice for a comparable price.”

Councilman Mike Bonin was in favor or the project, saying it would be used to house those living under freeways.

The appeal by Venice residents was denied.

FUNDING SOURCE AND CONVERSION:

The City bought 15 motels through the state Home Key program, but five additional hotels (including the Super 8 in Westchester and the Ramada Inn) were purchased from city funding sources, which are unidentified.

In 2020, Venice residents asked about the source of the funds and the loan terms to PATH, but never received a response. CTN reached out to the Controller’s office this past week to see if the funding source could be located.

The former motel now houses 32 residents, ranging in age from 20 to 69.  Some are “dual residents,” which means they have a room, and also a tent on the street. Having a dual residency is not a cause for discharge and LAHSA (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) will not approve discharge for dual residency.

The sexual predator has moved out of his room at the Ramada and gone back to the Venice streets – his other residency.

Two have died while in the Ramada – one overdose was accidental, the second was a “medical reaction.” All residents have access to Narcan and there is a lot of fentanyl use – many residents need long-term treatment.

CTN was told that behavior has to be egregious in order for a resident be asked to leave and that LAHSA is involved in the discharges.

Since this is transitional housing, residents have 90 days before they have to move. LAHSA must agree to an extension to allow people to stay.

But, these people have now been given notice they have to move, because the former Ramada is now going through a renovation process to make it ADA compliant, and also adressing deferred maintenance.

With renovations (now starting), the total cost per room will be about $382,220. Service and operation costs will be about $1.5 million a year with the City providing funding for a maximum of five years.

Once the process is finished, which could take up to two years, it will be considered permanent housing and anyone living there will have to meet Section 8 screening.

Where will the 32 go, who are currently living there?

They could go to bridge housing in Venice on Sunset that has 154 beds. As of August 17, about 71 of the adult beds and 22 of the youth beds were occupied. That makes 61 empty beds—and if all 32 Ramada residents go, it means there are still 29 beds available.

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS:

  • The City paid for this motel and is paying PATH, but where did the money come from?
  • It appears that much of the real estate that is being used for the homeless is being given to nonprofits. Who owns the building/land, the City or the nonprofit?
  • Since so many nonprofits operate independently, who in the City is keeping track of the empty beds? Who is keeping track of the people who are offered services, but refuse?
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1 Response to Sexual Predator Moved into Venice Neighborhood

  1. joan hill says:

    thank you for making us aware of the completely misguided use of funds for drug and sex offenders in the excessive use of funds for beach motels. Plus ADA compliant costs. WHY? and how could any city professional even consider this a good use of tax monies. Completely unhinged .

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