Venice has long been a highly diverse community; home to African Americans who were restricted from home ownership in other parts of L.A., low-income Latinos displaced by freeway development, starving artists, and senior citizens on fixed incomes.
In 1988, the Mayor identified an emerging housing crisis in Los Angeles fueled — especially on the coast — by escalating rents and property values. The resulting gentrification was already threatening the rich diversity that made up the Venice community.
Just a year or two prior to the Mayor’s announcement, eight committed Venice community members were gathering to discuss the emerging gentrification of their beloved community; the rising rents, increase of homeless people, and their desire to start a movement to address the issues.
Searching for answers on the causes of these matters they created a group called “Neighbor to Neighbor” and decided to educate themselves by inviting experts from local agencies focused on social services, mental health, and those serving the homeless and low income residents. Asking what can we do? They soon realized the key to addressing these needs was affordable housing and supportive services. With a commitment to building community, they focused not just on creating a housing development corporation, but a true community development organization; that is grounded in the belief that addressing the needs of the whole person is vital and necessary to preserving a diverse and inclusive community. The result of their vision was the creation of Venice Community Housing Corporation – now known as Venice Community Housing.
Since our inception in June of 1988, VCH has embraced our role as a solutions-based community organization. In 1994 VCH responded to a violent gang war in the community by broadening its focus beyond housing to include education and job training programs that offer at-risk youth the opportunity to stabilize their lives.
Today, VCH is a broad-based organization providing low-income and permanent supportive housing, youth programming, resident and homeless services, and community based solutions to meet those in need.
Steve Clare, founding Executive Director of VCH, retired in January of 2016. Becky Dennison, former Co-Executive Director of Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) was hired to lead the organization as its Executive Director.