By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Monday marked the first day of an initiative to offer unhoused Los Angeles residents living on the Venice Boardwalk a pathway to permanent housing.

The effort to shelter the unhoused has been at the center of a political battle between L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and local leaders like L.A. Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the Westside.

The sheriff says one of the problems is that there are some people who refuse to get off the streets.

“No overnight camping, things like that. Basic rule of law. That has to be enforced,” Villanueva said.

Bonin says enforcement will be an option after nearly 200 people are housed in converted motels and shelters in the next six weeks, but he says they need to be convinced one at a time.

“We’ve found that in other where parts of the city has done place-based encampment for homes programs, the vast majority of people have said yes.  It may take a little bit longer to build trust,” Bonin said.

The effort is being handled by St. Joseph Center through federal, state and local funds that weren’t available before the pandemic.

Its CEO says what’s different this time is that everyone who gets off the Oceanfront Walk will get into permanent housing.

Outreach workers say there are about 120 tents along Oceanfront Walk in Venice Beach.

St. Joseph’s Center said it was able to relocate 15 people into interim housing on Monday while LASD said it relocated about the same amount of individuals in the past few days. Both sides say they don’t believe placing unhoused Angelenos in jail is a solution.