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Man In Bear Suit Walking From L.A. To San Francisco To Raise Money For Nonprofits

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Bearsun Santa Clarita Walk LA to SF
Photo Courtesy of @IamBearsun / Instagram

A man in a bear suit passed through the Santa Clarita Valley Tuesday on his 380-mile journey, walking from Los Angeles to San Francisco to raise money for nonprofits. 

Jessy Larios, known as Bearsun, left the Little Tokyo neighborhood of L.A. on April 12 and his documenting the trek on Instagram. 

Some members of the Castaic community took to social media to figure out why a person in a bear suit was walking along The Old Road early Tuesday morning. 

Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station also encountered the “bear-y unique situation.”

“You may have seen a large teddy bear walking through town, yes a large teddy bear… walking,” said SCV Sheriff’s Station officials. “One of our deputies got the opportunity to meet up with the individual inside the bear and learned he is on a mission to complete a walk from Los Angeles to San Francisco. We wish him the best of luck on his adventure.”

Larios is working to get more sponsors and donations to help fund the Bearsun project, raising money to donate to any selected nonprofit, he said. 

The goal is to complete the cross-state trip on foot in under a week, camping outdoors the entire time. 

“I’ll have a photographer meet me at five pinpoints to take pics, do video documents so we can share as much as the experience with you,” Larios said. 

To track Bearsun’s journey visit the Instagram page here, and to donate visit his website.

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L.A. Homeless Shelter Capacity Up 57% In Three Years, Still Less Than Demand

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Devon Miller / The Valley Post

The number of homeless shelter beds in Los Angeles has increased by over 50% in the past three years, however, demand still outpaces the capacity. 

The 2021 Housing Inventory Count and Shelter Count, released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Wednesday, shows the nightly shelter capacity in the L.A. area has grown despite challenges faced by the pandemic. 

LAHSA found that the L.A. region’s shelter capacity on any given night was 24,616 beds, a 57% increase over the last three years. The agency also reported 33,592 permanent housing options, an increase of 16% over the same period.

Through “unprecedented coordination” and a critical influx of state and federal emergency funding, the L.A. region’s rehousing system’s response to COVID-19 saved lives, according to  Heidi Marston, executive director of LAHSA.

“We must build off of that momentum as we emerge from the pandemic to build the infrastructure necessary to address our homelessness crisis and collectively confront the conditions that continue to push people into homelessness,” Marston said in a statement. 

The Los Angeles region needs to build a more balanced system with more housing options. A balanced rehousing system has five permanent housing exits for each shelter bed; the Los Angeles system is closer to one-to-one, according to the executive director. 

The Housing Inventory Count is a census of all interim and permanent housing options in the homeless rehousing system at a given point-in-time. This year, the Housing Inventory Count occurred on Jan. 27.

LAHSA reported these results despite the global pandemic causing a considerable strain on its shelter supply. 

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, all of Los Angeles County’s congregate shelters had to decrease their bed count through a process called decompression. 

However, strategic investments by the federal, state, and local governments through Project Roomkey and Project Homekey helped make up for the loss of capacity, according to the agency.

The Shelter Count revealed that there were 17,225 people in a shelter on the night of the count, which is virtually unchanged from the previous year. 

LAHSA cited that without the addition of 2,357 Project Roomkey beds and 497 Project Homekey beds, there could have been a more significant drop in the shelter count due to decompression.

Following the advice of public health officials, LAHSA did not conduct an Unsheltered Count in 2021 to protect the 8,000 volunteers needed to complete the Count each year from COVID-19. The agency is planning to resume the Unsheltered Count in 2022.

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Home Prices In San Fernando Valley Reach New High, Median Nearing $1 Million

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Los Angeles Homes

The median price of San Fernando Valley homes sold during June reached a record high while sales soared 56.9% and the number of properties listed for sale lingered at low levels.

The median price was $955,000, up 28.9% from June 2020, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR).

June was the fourth consecutive month with the median above the $900,000 benchmark.

“Not long ago it would have been inconceivable that the San Fernando Valley would see the median home price inching toward $1 million,” said Diane Sydell, president of the association in a statement. “Now it seems inevitable, especially with today’s wealth of buyers, dearth of inventory, and heated competition over virtually every listing.”

The condominium median price for June was $519,000, up 12.8% from June 2020, but 3.9% below the record high $540,000 set this April.

A total of 554 single-family homes closed escrow during June, up 56.9% from a year ago and 11.5% ahead of May’s tally. It was the first month this year above 500 sales and the highest monthly total since June 2018.

The statistics for condominium sales were not as dramatic, in part because of the extremely limited supply of condominiums listed for sale, according to SRAR.

There were 725 active home and condominium listings at the end of June, the first month above 700 listings this year.

“The market has been overheated and buyer fatigue may be a factor going forward,” said Tim Johnson, the association’s chief executive officer. “Too many buyers are weary of competing with unseen competitors and losing to a higher bidder even when they come to the market fully prepared to buy. ”

That may translate in buyers being a bit more cautious, which when combined with the
reopening of the economy may yield a slowdown in sales and a few more listings.

Yet Johnson stressed that a “few more listings” doesn’t go far, even if some buyers are starting to take a bit longer to jump into the market.

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Supervisors Delay Vote For Plan To Transfer ‘Serious’ Juvenile Offenders To Santa Clarita

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Santa Clarita Camp Scott Camp Scudder (1)
Photo Courtesy of the City of Santa Clarita

A vote to approve the transfer of “serious” juvenile offenders to detention facilities in Santa Clarita on Bouquet Canyon Road was delayed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. 

The motion, made by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Holly Mitchell, instructs Camps Joseph Scott and Kenyon Scudder to be renovated within 90 days so that the facilities can be used by this juvenile offender population.

The juvenile detention camps are located within the limits of the City of Santa Clarita, on county-owned property that reaches within 600 feet of existing homes, according to the City. 

On Tuesday, the board delayed a vote on the motion to the next meeting on July 20 after many Santa Clarita residents spoke out about the plan.

Last month, the Los Angeles County Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) subcommittee submitted a report recommending the use of Camps Scott and Scudder as long-term holding facilities for all male offenders countywide.

If approved the camps would house offenders, between the ages of 12 and 25 years old, convicted of crimes including murder, rape, arson and robbery.

The move was brought forth after the signing of Senate Bill 823, which transferred the responsibility for the custody, treatment and supervision of youth to counties, effective July 1, 2021.

SB 823 requires counties to create a subcommittee, known as the Division of Juvenile Justice, to develop a plan describing the facilities, programs, placement and strategies needed to provide appropriate rehabilitative and supervision services for the juvenile population.

In a report requested by the County and issued in December 2020 – Camps Scott and Scudder were not even mentioned as options for the relocation, according to the City. 

However, the Youth Justice Reimagined Report does dedicate significant analysis and consideration to other existing juvenile facilities in the County and ultimately, recommends Camps Kilpatrick and Gonzales. 

“This motion was added to the agenda without any communication with the City of Santa Clarita or our residents,” said City officials. “This motion was made without any consultation with the City, and the Santa Clarita City Attorney’s Office is currently evaluating all legal options.”

The report cites security, remoteness from nearby communities, capacity for vocational and educational training, and a therapeutic environment as factors that attributed to their ultimate recommendation.

On June 23, the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted to oppose the plan, adding there were “no efforts made” by the County DJJ Subcommittee in engaging with members of the community.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents Santa Clarita, said she is going to look into alternative sites to house the offenders, including three other camps in Los Angeles County.

Note: This story has been updated at 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, July 13 with information on the delayed vote for the motion.

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