Tuesday's meeting featured a mix of outraged residents, well-known Venice Beach denizens and homeless advocates. Amy Thiel, who lives near the former thrift shop, tearfully urged officials to open the center's doors, saying the area's homeless "are members of our city and part of Venice, California.... [They] need help, resources and showers."
Rosendahl told the crowd that the city was installing new lighting and planned to close off some of the problematic alleys near the St. Joseph facility. But Andre de Montesquiou, owner of California Chicken Cafe on Lincoln Boulevard, said such improvements have been promised over the years but never delivered. "Don't throw these bones out to us," he said.
He and other members of Venice SONIC said they would prefer a facility that provided overnight shelter and did not push the homeless back out onto the street at closing time.
Lois M. Takahashi, an associate professor in UCLA's department of urban planning, said Venice and Santa Monica were already doing a lot to help homeless people.
"We have to think about the broader context here," Takahashi said. "We focus on the NIMBYs and cities that are offloading homeless, but we're not really talking as much about redistributing the responsibility across the region, which is a necessary element to solve this problem."
Sometimes, overcoming community concerns can be a simple matter of education and old-fashioned political support.
In Hollywood, a plan to create a housing complex and homeless services center near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street appears to have overcome initial opposition from concerned residents and business owners.
"The community opposition has pretty much died down," said Helmi Hisserich, Hollywood administrator for the Community Redevelopment Agency, who credited a series of informational meetings and the strong backing of City Council President Eric Garcetti.
The CRA, which purchased the land from the First Presbyterian Church, plans a 40- to 60-unit complex with long-term subsidized apartments and on-site services to help tenants stay off the streets.
A proposed drop-in services center was scrapped. Hisserich wouldn't say whether the elimination of the drop-in center helped ease community concerns but acknowledged that such centers are "hot-button issues" and added, "The community response certainly helped shape the plan."
firstname.lastname@example.org Times staff writer Ashraf Khalil contributed to this report.