Venice Affordable Housing Fight Goes to Washington

By Mark Lipman

On Friday March 20, approximately 100 low income tenants and community organizers from the Holiday Venice apartments, also known as Breeze Del Mar, the largest block of affordable housing units remaining in Venice met at the First Baptist Church, to send off eight of their community leaders to Washington DC to meet with HUD and congressional officials, to plead their case for saving the 264 units.

Community activists working together with POWER (People Organized for Westside Renewal), spoke on the need to preserve the integrity of our Venice community; to protect and expand the affordable housing base we have; and to work together in combating the failed government policies that lead to homelessness. Chris Gabriele of POWER was quoted as saying, “The number one solution to homelessness is housing … the number two solution also happens to be housing.”

From the meetings in DC, the Venice tenants gained renewed support from both Senators Feinstein and Boxer, as well as Congresswoman Maxine Waters and an aide to Rep. Jane Harman. In a White House meeting, Venice organizers also spoke with the director of HUD, who said no approval of pre-payments on the low-income apartments would be given until a thorough review of the case was made.