What We Did
Located on the ground floor will be the headquarters for Safe Place for Youth which will provide supportive services for residents and the broader community while creating an activated and inviting storefront along the existing commercial corridor.
Los Angeles County is one of the least affordable rental markets in the country, which has proven to be particularly destabilizing for transition-aged youth (TAY) which include young adults ranging from 16-24 years old. Experiencing homelessness places TAY at increased risk of trauma and other consequences, such as mental and physical health stressors that can make it difficult to build a stable foundation for successful adulthood.
The project will house both TAY (ages 18-24) and older adults (primarily over 60) who have experienced chronic homelessness. This mix of residents allows TAY an opportunity to build safe and caring relationships with older adults who are uniquely empathetic to their circumstances and hold similar identities. Venice Community Housing’s Westside Youth Academy will focus on education, job training, and leadership development services that address housing instability, food and transportation access, clothing needs, and health challenges. Programming will include bi-weekly cooking class, garden and environmental classes, and composting.
A portion of the original structure is retained to avoid the loss of valuable ground floor space due to a dedication requiring a setback for all new construction. At the set back from the street a new small public plaza will be provided and activated by a retail component managed by Safe Place for Youth. To the south, the building massing steps down a level to respect the scale of the adjacent residential neighborhood. The building plan is shaped to provide southern exposure and leverage coastal breezes to various outdoor spaces including the ground floor entry patio and plaza, lower and upper-level courtyards, and tranquility roof deck and community garden. Open stairs and corridors stich the various outdoor rooms together that promote health and wellness. Safe Space for Youth also has two private patios and access to six parking stalls.
The deep angled street-facing façade helps provide solar shading. A mural of Nelson Mandela releasing a dove, a beloved community feature, will be recreated offering peace and hope to both residents and the neighborhood.
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