A couple of days ago, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s staff notified me and my staff that the County’s application for “Project Homekey” funding to convert the 818 Hotel in Woodland Hills into transitional family housing was approved by Governor Newsom. Many other proposed sites were also approved for funding all across the State, but many other applications for funding have not yet been acted upon. We have not heard any word on the City’s proposal to purchase, among many others, four Extended Stay hotels — one of which is located next door to the 818 hotel. The proposal for that particular hotel was for conversion into permanent supportive housing for seniors exclusively. We were originally told the funding decisions would be made in mid-March, but the process was delayed as there were so many cities applying for the funds.
As the Governor’s statement explains, “the 818 Hotel is the conversion of a motel into 100 units of interim housing for families experiencing chronic homelessness or homelessness, located in the Woodland Hills neighborhood. Each unit will be furnished with mezzanine beds, a desk area, storage, a mini-fridge and microwave. Three meals will be provided each day prepared by Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission's culinary team at their central commissary. The site is within a half mile of public transit, a grocery store, pharmacy, medical facility, a high school, and within a mile of a community college. Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission will provide supportive services including permanent housing navigation, case management, crisis intervention, and conflict resolution.”
When I originally found out that the County was going to pursue this site for funding under the Governor's Project Homekey, I successfully fought to ensure that it would be designated to be used exclusively for families. With many families homeless every night, including thousands of LAUSD students in the San Fernando Valley, we desperately need more housing opportunities for working families and children. I’m grateful to Hope of the Valley for sharing this concern and agreeing to those terms.
Also, the approval of this funding means that l will soon be able to introduce a “41.18 resolution” to create an enforceable 1000ft ‘no encampment buffer zone’ -- this will cover the public right-of-ways around Taft High School, Ralphs, and many surrounding buildings. Such 1000ft ‘no encampment zones’ are enabled specifically around homeless intervention locations because of legislation I authored last year. Although having such a ‘no encampment zone’ will not completely allay the fears and concerns of many community members who are opposed to this new use of the 818 hotel, I hope it will provide some comfort.
While this is a County site, I’ve been supporting them in this effort after they agreed to make it exclusively for families, after I found out that the current owner of the 818 Hotel wanted to sell it for a homeless serving purpose, because we are in desperate need of such a facility and because the current hotel had become a magnet for problems including drug use, prostitution and crime. I’m confident that these nuisance/crime related problems will be greatly lessened when it is no longer a place where anybody can buy a cheap room for the night, but is instead a place where only families who have been accepted into the program can reside and when those families will be receiving meals, services and guidance. These families ultimately want to be placed into permanent housing, they won’t want to lose the privilege of being in this transitional housing, and they will be working closely with the service provider, Hope of the Valley. Also, unlike the 818 hotel, the new family facility will have 24/7 security on site.
Much more information and engagement opportunities to come. Supervisor Kuehl’s staff will host upcoming community meetings on this project and if you have questions or comments, please send them to Tessa Charnofsky at [email protected] and Tanya Ortiz at [email protected]. You can also always reach out to me and my team at [email protected].
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) just received a grant to install reflective backplates on 200 traffic signals throughout the City. LADOT chose the locations for 100 signals based on crash history, and 100 based on how isolated they are from other signals (making them a little more prone to inadvertent red light running). These reflective bordered backplates -- yellow reflective strips placed around the perimeter of traffic signals -- increase traffic signal visibility for motorists. Councilmember Blumenfield and LADOT are committed to making our streets safer for all.
This week, Councilmember Blumenfield voted to include the Third District in the Restaurant Beverage Program, which will make it easier for restaurants to get City permission to serve alcohol with meals.
At the height of the pandemic, Blumenfield convened local restaurant and business owners to help create new rules to make it easier to run businesses in LA. The recommendations they crafted together led to the creation of this Restaurant Beverage Program. Some of the rule changes include a streamlined process for qualified restaurants to serve alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption at sit-down restaurants as well as cost and time saving measures like making it easier to obtain certain permits if they agree to operational and design standards.
Blumenfield will continue to work with local business owners to cut red tape and advance sensible laws that make starting, and operating a business in LA easier. For more information, please contact Roberto Luna from the City's Planning Department at [email protected].
This Sunday, Councilmember Blumenfield will be joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, city/community leaders and residents for the groundbreaking of Caballero Creek Park in Tarzana on the west side of Lindley Ave, just south of Victory Blvd. This site will convert a 1.6-acre underutilized site into a multiple-benefit park, located at the convergence of the Los Angeles River and Caballero Creek in Tarzana.
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), Department of Recreation and Parks, Bureau of Sanitation, and General Services, and Los Angeles County have joined forces to design and complete the Caballero Creek Park. Blumenfield has also partnered with Reseda High School so this new space will serve as an outdoor classroom. The design utilizes innovative methods that lead to watershed protection, including a bioswale and a wetland component for storm water treatment. The site plan also includes a variety of offerings for the community including an outdoor fitness center, play and recreation, access to the LA River bike paths, and more.
All are welcome to hear more about the project, see the site plans, and share feedback. If you’d like to join, please send an email to [email protected] for more details.
Last weekend, Councilmember Blumenfield kicked-off the first Valley Asian Cultural Festival organized by the West Valley Chamber of Commerce at Pierce College. He helped bring out the vibrant showcase of cultural booths, kids activities, food, decorations, displays, and performances. Blumenfield helped fund and organize this event and hopes the Chamber will make this an annual event to showcase the vibrant diversity of the Valley.
As part of AAPI Heritage Month, Blumenfield introduced a resolution declaring May 8-15, 2022 Taiwanese-American Heritage Week. He is also proud to recognize Livia Shi, one of the major cultural ambassadors and organizing forces for the representation of Taiwan at the recent Valley Asian Cultural Festival. Livia was instrumental in including the Taiwanese puppets and dances. A Valley local and graduate of Van Nuys High School, Livia has been involved in many community organizations and events over the years including the Gourmet SFV foodies, SFV classical music lovers, and Greater LA Classical Music Group.
Saturday, May 14 is the culmination of the Nationwide Postal Food Drive and the Woodland Hills Post Office will be delivering the generous community donations to the West Valley Food Pantry. If you or your group is interested in sorting food, please stop by the West Valley Food Pantry located at 5700 Rudnick Ave in Woodland Hills from 3pm to 6pm. It’s a family affair so bring the kids and grandparents. For more information, please call (818) 346-5554.
Over the past several months, Blumenfield and his staff have been working hard with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to put together a series of additional solutions to deter speeding and street racing such as bollards, parking restrictions, new stop signs and speed tables. They had also been working with LAPD to establish a Street Racing Task Force to ticket drivers, impound vehicles and deter speeding. This week, k-rails were placed at the top of the street to prevent the street racing/street takeover from gathering and ‘doing donuts’ at that hotspot location. Blumenfield thanked the crews from DOT and Bureau of Street Services for their speedy installation. The k-rails will be ultimately be replaced with a gate in the upcoming months. Once the gate is installed the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority will take responsibility for the tip of the street on the South side of the gate that leads to the hiking trail and they will close the gate at night to prevent the type of illicit activities that had been occurring.
This week's photo from the Los Angeles Public Library's archives is from the Valley Times on April 1, 1960. Community leaders celebrate the opening of the new firehouse in Tarzana. This Saturday, May 14 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM all Neighborhood Fire Stations in the City of Los Angeles will be open for visitors during their annual Open Firehouse Celebration. Click here to find your Neighborhood Fire Station.