Everyone should have a safe place to sleep, but that doesn’t mean that an unsheltered person should be able to set up a camp on any park bench, sidewalk, bus shelter, or place they like. Councilmember Bob Blumenfield has worked to balance both the need for outreach, services, and housing with common sense rules to keep sensitive areas off-limits to encampments and the right of way clear and safe for everyone. He personally does extensive outreach with the unsheltered people in the 3rd district and understands that their needs are complex and there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for homelessness.
The West Valley must have housing and shelter options to move people indoors. There used to be zero shelters in this district. Councilmember Bob Blumenfield approved and helped build 5 new interim housing sites that opened in 2020 and 2021, including:
The Willows Bridge Home – 80 beds with larger spaces for couples and room for pets
Sycamore and Sunflower Cabin Communities – together space for over 225 people in dry, warm, secure private tiny homes
Project Roomkey hotels at the Super 8 Canoga Park and the Howard Johnson’s in Reseda that will be converted to permanent housing
Two Safe Parking programs with security and restrooms so people who have lost their home but still have a vehicle can go to work and seek housing after a good night’s sleep.
Each of these programs is giving a safe, dry, warm alternative to living outdoors. He is working to help make the 818 hotel in Woodland Hills into a transitional interim site for families. He continues to look for a solution for people who live in RVs that is better than parking on our streets.
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield approved and helped secure funding and permits for 3 new permanent supportive (PSH)/affordable projects to open this year alone. The Bell Creek, Palm Vista and Reseda Theater apartments will offer hundreds of desperately needed new units of housing. Previously he approved the Winnetka Village which has been providing 95 units of housing including 62 which are PSH. He is also working with the City to see the Extended Stay Hotel in Woodland Hills converted into 164 units of PSH for seniors. He also pushes for affordable units to be included in all projects whenever possible and has approved thousands of units of market rate housing to provide places for people who want to sell their home and downsize after their children grow up or for new families who call the San Fernando Valley home to raise their children.
To avoid long delays waiting for outreach workers to drive to the West Valley from downtown, he made space for LAHSA Outreach teams to be based in his district office and have them here in the West Valley when we need them. He also partnered to bring more mental health and substance abuse programs for local unsheltered folks with Tarzana Treatment Center and San Fernando Valley Mental Health Center to this district. He works closely with, and helps fund organizations like Haven Hills, offering safe homes to women and families struggling with homelessness many of whom survived domestic violence. He created an innovative voluntary storage program with About My Father’s Business so people who accept a shelter bed don’t leave their belongings and tents in the right of way.
If people need more intense help to move inside, those services need to be provided. But we can’t allow people to die on the streets, or spiral due to a lack of will to help them.
With a balance of compassion and reasonable limits, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield believes we can reverse the crisis of homelessness both in the West Valley and the entire City.