Venice stakeholders send letter urging city to tackle fire risk in encampments
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Citing the federal judge who ordered the City and County of Los Angeles to provide shelter to all needy people on Skid Row over the next six months, the Venice Stakeholders Association said today that his lawyer had sent Los Angeles officials a letter urging them to deal with the increased risk of fire during the homelessness crisis.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter’s April 20 order says: “ Fires are breaking out with agonizing frequency, threatening both housed and non-housed populations. In 2020, homelessness-related fires increased by 82% compared to 2019. This figure is expected to increase in 2021. ”
The claim was part of an order requiring the city and county to provide shelter to all unhoused residents of Skid Row following a lawsuit filed last year by the Human Rights Alliance. man, a group of downtown business owners and homeless residents, who sued the city. and the county to try to force a resolution on the growing number of people living on the streets.
Venice Stakeholder Association attorney Jeff Lewis has called on the city to “ reconsider ” its appeal and work with the LA Human Rights Alliance instead.
Some Venice residents have expressed concern over roaming-related fires after a house fire in the 100 block of East Club House Avenue destroyed the residence and killed a dog on April 22.
City Councilor Mike Bonin, who represents Venice on Los Angeles City Council, said on the day of the fire: ‘LAFD says no evidence that a Venice fire that destroyed a house and killed a dog was started by a homeless person. Media spread rumor of fire started by upset homeless person (with) landlord. Fire under investigation, no proof yet of its origin. ”
The Los Angeles Fire Department issued a statement on Friday saying again that “ there is no evidence indicating the involvement of a homeless person. ”
Lewis added in his letter to city officials, “ as long as the city attorney advises the city that it can rely on statutory and common law immunities to continue to ignore this fire risk , I urge you to seek up-to-date legal advice – – behind closed doors – regarding the city’s potential liability in light of Justice Carter’s findings that the city creates a fire hazard that did not exist before. ”
The association added that 10 owners of 22 Venetian properties are calling on the city to adopt a buffer zone between camps and structures to prevent fires.
David Graham-Caso, Bonin’s deputy chief of staff, said that “ the surest way to prevent fires in homeless settlements is to help people get off the streets, leave the settlements and find accommodation or shelter – something the stakeholders in Venice have fought on several occasions. through litigation, social media campaigns and media stunts. ”
This week, as VSA continues its campaign to stop the city’s efforts to convert the former Ramada Motel on Washington Boulevard into homeless housing, Council member Bonin will open another homeless housing project. at a former motel near LAX, funding shared accommodation for unhoused residents of Venice, continuing to push for the opening of tiny original villages, safe parking and camping, and temporary housing throughout its district , and pushing for the city budget to devote resources to housing and mental health and addiction services in Venice, ” Graham- Dit Caso.
Bonin and the Los Angeles Fire Department will also begin a pilot project on Monday with a LAFD “ rapid response vehicle ” unit dedicated specifically to fire hazards in the Ocean Front Walk area.
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