If you pay attention as you drive the streets of occasionally beautiful Venice California, you see them. Cars, trucks, vans, and campers that people are living in. Why not ? By the beach, beautiful weather, social services, plenty of room to walk. It's believed that Nathan Campbell, accused car killer, drifter, transient, Georgia high school dropout, was one of the hundreds who live in their car in Venice at any given time. We still don't know his circumstances. Drug and or alcohol problems? Perhaps as he reportedly once went through rehab in Colorado. Mental health issues? None that we know about for sure, other than the circumstantial evidence, as lawyers would say, of his alleged rampage on Saturday night that cost a young Italian newlywed her life and left 16 others injured. The question is, what's being done to either find and help, or prevent the next Nathan Campbell from losing it and killing people.
One of the answers is ‘' The Roadmap to Housing", a project run by the well respected social service agency PATH ( People Assisting the Homeless) in conjunction with the City, specifically former LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl's district. www.epath.org is the website. They have 22 operations in Southern California. The one I'm talking about involving the Roadmap program was where outreach workers literally went car to car and tried to identify and assess each one of those living in their vehicles on the street, and get them the help that they needed. In the past two years, 207 people were ‘'engaged'' and 141 were placed into some type of permanent housing, often federally subsidized Section 8 as it's called, where residents typically pay about a third of their income in rent, the rest, courtesy of Uncle Sam, meaning us, the taxpayer. So all that's good, except for the fact that when Rosendahl left office, the program ended. Now, his successor, Mike Bonin, http://www.11thdistrict.com who was his Chief of Staff and knows full well the value of Roadmap, has to reintroduce it to the council, get it approved, which shouldn't be a problem, but now federal Section 8 vouchers are frozen due to budget cuts known as ‘'Sequestration''. It's always something right ? Meantime, let's hope the next Nathan Campbell isn't boiling over ready to blow before someone gets him the help he needs.
We're covering the "Roadmap to Housing " story on our Studio 11 LA news at 5pm and will likely do more on it for 10pm tonight as well. We have an interesting twist with an interview with an 80 year old artist who got one of those Section 8 apt's after being in his camper for years.. he makes a good point.. not ALL the folks on the streets in those cars are criminals.. far from it. Check out Ray Robins story OK ?