City Council agrees to finance Silver Lake affordable housing project

The City Council this morning agreed to issue $6.2 million in bonds to help renovate a two-story brick building into a 36-unit Silver Lake housing complex for homeless and mentally ill tenants.  A handful of Silver Lake residents came to speak against the loan request for the Vendome Palms Apartments, saying they were concerned about the impact on neighborhood safety.  “I’m not a NIMBY but we already have three  … of these facilities within walking distance,” said Kelly Spencer*, who lives a block away from the project near Vendome Street and Sunset Boulevard. “This is going to be a big one. How many of these do we have to have in our neighborhood? When is it going to end?”

However, another Silver Lake resident said moving the homeless off the street and into housing would make Silver Lake more safe, a point echoed by Councilman Eric Garcetti, who represents the area. Garcetti urged his fellow council members to vote in favor of the loan and told residents he would address their concerns.

* The spelling of names could not be confirmed off the video taped City Council proceedings.


  1. I say its a good thing when people actually think of the less fortunate!!!
    Impact on neighborhood safety???? Are you fucking serious????? Can you say bullshit excuse! LOL. Maybe you’re not too fond of people who are poor or with lil to no money???? I can’t recall ever being attacked by a homeless person?

  2. the proposal for the “Vendome Palms” also states that it will also be a home for the “mentally ill.” I think if you had kids and were living on that block, you might think twice. I do. How many people get attacked by mentally ill people? MANY! How many crimes in our area are done by people with drug problems? MANY! What about the 17yr old Los Feliz girl that was murdered by a homeless guy downtown? This isn’t about some elitist backlash against unfortunate people. It’s about yet one more of these within a five block radius. Gimme a break…

  3. You show a sorry prejudice when you PRESUME that all homeless people are automatically dangerous. In fact, you are wrong. You show a similar prejudice when presuming that same about any mentally ill.

    Mind you, these are NOT mentally ill in need of being in a mental hospital! AND this place will be having counselors on hand to make sure all is fine and goes smoothly.

    Homeless people getting housing are going to be a LOT less desperate. If anything, that will result is reducing the danger, not increasing it.

    Of the other two others that have been named, at least one of them is not in an reasonable walking distance! It is at least a mile and a half away!

    Stop making up false excuses based on your ill-conceived prejudices. The two facilities mentioned have not been a problem. That should tell you you need not worry.

    I have heard entirely too much HATE expressed about homeless people, and the attitude to throw them all in jail for being homeless. And that’s nothing but a hate crime.

    I will also say, while Garcetti may have supported this loan (I sure hope that’s not due to some kind of political contribution), he has taken other unconscionable actions AGAINST homeless people that are just unforgiveable.

  4. Nice try “IamJacksLiver”. This isn’t about “people with lil to no money”. This is not a section 8 type affordable housing project. It is a facility for the mentally ill, chronically homeless and drug addicted. It is a few doors down from a park and right by the bus stop where all the kids get off and walk past it.

    Quit projecting on people you know nothing about and a neighborhood you likely don’t live in.

  5. So where would you put these people? In the Angeles National Forest? Far away from civilization? Oh yeah that’s right, let’s stigmatize mental illness even more, because they’re ALL potential murderers and child kidnappers.

  6. Honestly, I am more threatened by the waves of drunk young people walking around, vomiting all over the place, screaming and driving DRUNK after leaving the bars all along Sunset in Echo Park.

  7. i’m with you. typically they would be bussed down to skid row, but now that neighborhood is being gentrified and is not welcoming societies cast offs. they need to find refuge somewhere. I haven’t heard any tales of “crazy people menacing residents on the streets of silverlake” so I have no problems with it. there are a lot of other issues that require neighborhood organization: this isn’t one of them. leave the people be.

  8. 6.2 million dollars to renovate a 2 story building, with 36 units. Am i in the wrong business or what!!!!!

  9. @ cp007 – I hear ya! Actually they list their estimated cost at $13.3 million on this project. They just needed the final $6.2 million from the bond to be able to make it happen.

  10. I live less than a mile from the project, my daughter goes to Micheltorena Street School, a few blocks away from the project and I am so HAPPY A Community of Friends will be running this project for Formerly Homeless, mental ill persons. Formerly homeless means they will be coming from other programs (emergency shelter and transitional housing programs) were they have under gone counseling, therapy and case managements. Most will be on meds that help them control their illness. ACOF will have case managers on site, who will assist the residents in obtaining needed services.

  11. There are hundreds of homeless people sleeping on sidewalks, alleyways and our back streets. This organization is selecting just a few of them that they feel can thrive with a roof over their head. There haven’t been any problems with the other facilities in Silver Lake, and I don’t anticipate problems with this one. I think these few chosen people will be especially grateful to land here. Lets give them some support…

  12. I live on Vendome, just down the street. I would prefer it to be “regular” apartments, but I’d rather have anything there than the giant, abandoned eyesore that frequently has squatters and always has shit, piss and garbage on the crumbling sidewalk in front of it.

  13. And debbie- the homeless hang out in that little park.

  14. I thinks its sad that the ‘compassionate’ people of this city cloud the real concerns of those who have the most to lose. I live near one of these facilities, and have learned a lot about how they are forced through and how the city and Garcetti favor these projects because it can become part of a list of accomplishments. Yes – there is a need for addressing how to deal with this population, but if you look at the sheer saturation within a small area, the fact that many of these projects are designed with limited recreational space, and the fact that you have so many of this population (36) within one property who have varying degrees of mental issues. If this is an independent living situation, there will be little requirement for supervision. I have been forced to deal with residents that watch me with binoculars, scream out of their windows, harass people that visit me, and just hang around suspiciously. Try to talk to A Community of Friends when you have a recurring problem, and you will be told that the protections afforded to the mentally ill residents does not allow you to know anything about the residents and because they live independently, that the activities of the resident cannot be stopped, no matter how troubling the behavior.

  15. This is not an issue of NIMBY’ism. Silver Lake and Echo Park is doing more than its fair share to give those needing a helping hand the support the require.
    I think our representatives need to start making decisions based on the voices of the 10s of thousands of voters in their area and not the handful of entities that have created businesses around the homeless (even if it is a non-profit).
    I understand the drawbacks of a dilapidated building, but I think our representatives need to be a little bit more selective in what they support in such locations.

  16. @ robyn – A Community Of Friends have owned this building since 2008 so the eyesore, squatters, piss, shit and general neglect of that building the past few years is on them as well. And Almondone’s post above does not bode well for how ACOF will be to deal with as neighbors once this project goes through.


  18. As a person who has had a personal experience with the mentally ill, I find myself conflicted about the idea of a housing project of this magnitude. My mother has suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia for over 40 years. I love my mother and am an advocate for the mentally ill. However, 20 years ago, in a state that can only be described as paranoid and irrational, my mother murdered my father who was never abusive to her in any aspect. He, with his Catholic ideals refused to ever divorce her and spent much of his like caring for her. She had never shown an ounce of violence prior to the incident. I think, at the time, she truly believed she was protecting herself against somebody that, in her mind, wasn’t my father. I will never be angry at her. I will always love her. And she’s one of the few mentally that was not imprisoned for her crime and lives a very peaceful life with her sister. While I believe that the mentally ill deserve a safe place to live, I believe the outcome of housing this many mentally ill people together could be devastating to not only the residences, but to the community. While I feel more compassion for the mentally ill then most of the people writing on this subject, I also understand the upsetting ramifications that it will have for all involved. Stacking the mentally ill on top of one another will be much like an experiment in the modern idea of a mental institution. I believe few will make progress. Much like a tent city with plumbing, most residents will probably rarely interact with society beyond the walls of the facility. In the sixties our country created housing project for the poor in the same fashion. And if you look at the history of those places, you can see that nobody thrived. And then, I must warn everybody of my worst fear; that something really unthinkable might happen. My family was not aware that a seemingly peaceful loving person could commit a murder. In her best days, before the illness took, over she was the head of the P.T.A. She brought me to every museum she could drag me to. She helped me with my homework every night and told me she loved me everyday. And a few years later, she did the unthinkable. I come from a place of realism. I still visit my mother. but when I stay there, I lock the door. Twice. While, I love my mother, I fear her. I want everybody to look at this idea. Twice.

  19. Wow. Thanks Louise for sharing such a personal and poignant story. i am very sorry for your loss.

  20. Please, Please, come to the Silverlake Neighborhood Council’s meeting Weds at Michaeltorena School@ Sunset Bl @7pm to speak about this issue

  21. I have been accosted by one of the inhabitants of the shelters. I was walking down Sunset at 7pm with my 4 month old daughter and my partner. One of the guys that lives in the shelter nearby pick pocked me. I know he was from the shelter because he’s a recognizable figure around the neighborhood, and he was identified by friends and the Dusty’s staff. I think maybe because I have a young child, I’m a little more uncomfortable about it.

    I’ve also had trespassers on my property recently, that appeared to be casing my home. I don’t believe it was related to the shelters, but I am feeling unsafe in our neighborhood.

  22. The thing that is so interesting is the money spent is taxpayer funds and it is a ridiculous amount for such a small property. $375,000 per unit. Someone is making a large amount of money-hopefully it is not the local councilman. However, since he is pushing the project to hard and he was a party to the fact that adjoining property owners did not get notice I tend to think he is playing this for his own political gain. Maybe he should put this where he lives.

  23. This will certainly have an interesting effect on the local property values. I wonder when that predictable outrage will arrive.

  24. It does seem like an exorbitant amount of money for 36 units. I wonder if it’s time for someone to investigate OUR city council’s actions/motivations. Garcetti may represent Silverlake, but he does not live in this area which, as anyone who lives here knows, is a whole other world from his Ivanhoe Silverlake. Let’s see how he likes it if something like this were to be built in 3 blocks from HIS Silverlake.

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