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The Juliette Interviews: Nancy Griffin of Venice Community Housing

I have loved being a resident of Venice ever since I moved there over 7 years ago. It’s a real community, featuring people from all walks of life, ranging from artists, hippies, nature lovers, health nuts, techie folks, and executives. People seem to care about the community here more than other places I have lived – there also is a genuine vibe that’s unique to Venice when it comes to social impact.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a close friend who shares my love of our ‘hood. She is a volunteer for Venice Community Housing, a neighborhood organization that provides low-income housing and services for the homeless, at-risk youth and others in need in our community.

JH: How did you get involved with this non-profit? What is your background?

NG: My background is in magazine journalism as a writer and I met my husband, architect Steven Ehrlich, in Venice, and after we built our home here we supported the legendary and now defunct Venice Garden Tour. One of the founders of the Garden Tour, Linda Lucks, introduced me to VCH by taking me to one of its facilities, a transitional center which shelters homeless women and children and helps them get jobs and find permanent housing. I began working as a volunteer there.

JH: Is homelessness getting worse in Venice and why do you think that is?

NG: Homelessness has increased 23% in Los Angeles since 2016, and it is especially acute in Venice, where more than 1,000 people live on the streets and beaches. The factors are many and complex, but primarily there’s simply a critical shortage of affordable housing for low-income families.

Venice has a rich legacy of racial and economic diversity—it’s DNA makes it a lively melting pot. As tech firms have moved in and income levels risen, I believe we need to preserve the social fabric of our community. I believe we must do what we can to help the less fortunate among us.

JH: You have an annual fundraiser called The Venice Design Series, tell us a bit more about this and how people can attend.

NG: Five years ago, a team of us led by Linda Lucks launched a curated series of private tours and events that meld the best of Los Angeles architecture and design, food and culture. We offer mini-adventures that transport you to places you haven’t seen, experiences you’ve never had, with really nice people and great food.

You can check them out and purchase tickets at: venicedesignseries.org/events/

JH: VCHP also offers youth services – can you tell us a little bit more about these programs?

NG: YouthBuild is a really inspiring program. It’s VCH’s on-site charter high school that provides people aged 18-24 the chance to get a high quality education with diploma, job training and placement, and leadership development. Being around these kids is to witness amazing transformations happening to young lives.

JH: Since its inception what kind of impact has Venice Community Housing had on combating homelessness and helping with job growth?

NG: VCH provides and manages 216 units of affordable housing in Venice, Mar Vista and Del Rey. Residents have access to services for disabilities, substance abuse and mental health issues. With the help of a new infusion of public funds designated for affordable housing, VCH is developing two significant housing projects in Venice which are going through the approval process.

JH: How can people in the community volunteer and what can our readers do to help the homelessness issue?

NG: There is so much need and so many ways to give! Read about opportunities to tutor at-risk youth, provide meals for sheltered families or be a public advocate for homelessness initiatives at vchcorp.org.

Support the Venice Design Series or make a donation!

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Luxury Living On The Slopes

It’s the heart of the 2019 ski season and next week is President’s Day. Many families will be taking the week off to travel to their favorite ski destination – some of them looking at the real estate and wondering if it will be a good investment or not.

Any why wouldn’t it? Especially if you travel to these spots often enough or there is a good market to rent your property for the season. But what about the luxury ski resort towns? Are they worth it? Is there a good rental market for these destinations? It all depends on what you are looking for.

Here is a list of some of the best luxury ski towns and why you may consider investing there:

1. Powder Mountain, Eden Utah: This resort is largely undeveloped, you won’t find elegant cuisine, spas, or massive lodges – but that could be a good thing since getting in early could really pay off later.

2. Sun Valley, ID: Sun Valley, in Ketchum Idaho, is known for its popular ski slopes and celebrity sightings, and it’s also a prime shopping destination. For these reasons alone, buying here is still a great option.

3. Aspen, Co: This is one of the pricier ski towns to purchase an investment home in, and the real estate is hard to come by – but if you have the means and there is availability, the value of these luxury homes is second to none, as Aspen is still one of the premier resort towns in this country.

4. Beaver Creek, Co: Beaver Creek is the “small” mountain next to Vail, but it’s known for it’s exclusivity with some of the best ski-in, ski-out homes in the country. With it’s hot chocolate mornings and champagne afternoons, this is one to consider.

5. Jackson Hole, WY: While it’s more difficult to get to, Jackson Hole is a chic, former cowboy town, that now rivals Aspen. It’s quaint and lovely, but the home prices have gone up quite a bit in recent years. It’s charm still makes it worth keeping an eye on.

6. Stowe, Vt: We couldn’t leave out an East Coast destination and because of its location, Stowe is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, which only adds to it’s appeal. Stowe has excellent shopping and restaurants and is also a perfect year round destination, making it an optimal location for a second home.

So whether you’re a skier, snowboarder or just a mountain enthusiast, there are great options to buy a second home in some of the most luxury snow destinations.

If you’d like to learn more or have a property in mind, please contact me and I will see how my team and I can help.

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It’s 2019. Are you prepared?

Being prepared to ring in a new year is always somewhat exciting. Creating some resolutions to shed bad habits, being thankful for new experiences you had, people you met and lessons you learned or recognizing the people that stood with you through the thick and thin.

Being prepared can also have different meaning, so I want to talk about a specific type of preparedness.

Emergency Preparedness.

2018 was said to be a challenging year for many of us, especially homeowners in California when it came to emergencies. Several fires decimated parts of Northern and Southern California and many of us, even with years of constant reminders around fire danger and being as prepared as we possibly can, we’re not 100% prepared.

There is no way to guarantee you can escape the danger of a fire, an earthquake or a mudslide, but we can all do our best to be as prepared as possible, especially as a responsible home owner.

I’ve gathered information around few tips and products, some you may know about, some may you may not, but all of them good reminders why you should always be prepared:

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1. ShakeAlertLA - Download this new app developed by the city of Los Angeles in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey. It is designed to provide warnings similar to an Amber Alert when significant shaking starts nearby, ideally allowing users to get to a safe place.

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2. Fireproof your home - This is common sense for anyone who lives in an area prone to wildfires – but outside of the usual steps you would take, such as clearing debris and brush around your home – there are many specific products on the market such as sprinkler systems or biodegradable foam that can be an absolute lifesaver.

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3. Protect against mudslides - Building retainer walls or having sandbags on hand are a good first defense against mudslides, which can be sudden and unexpected, especially after a wildfire and during the rainy season. One of the best defenses is to hire a land assessment consultant to help design and or build a debris flow structure, channel or piping around your home if you are in an area that is very prone to mudslides.

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4. Emergency Kit - Whether you build one yourself or buy one pre-made, an Emergency Kit is always a good idea to have. Make sure they are stocked with enough non-perishable foods, water and supplies for everyone in your family. It is also a good idea have a couple in the home and at least one in the car.

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5. Emergency Radio - We are so dependent on getting information from our phones, internet and now a robot called Alexa, that we may forget once the power goes out or the phone lines go down, we still need to stay informed. Get a good solar powered and/or crank emergency radio so you can do just that in an emergency that takes out any and all communication with the outside world. The best way to safety is staying informed.

While we should never be living in fear of anything, I do hope these little tips serve as reminders for all of to stay vigilant in the face of disaster, especially after last year’s fires. I also hope that emergency readiness in 2019 will simply just serve as a good exercise on why we need to stay prepared without any reason to say “thank god I listened to Juliette.” Be safe out there!

Here is the “good” list of L.A. holiday lights

There really is never a lack of “lights” to see in L.A. From Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” installation at LACMA to the contrails of Space X launches to the spotlights over the Hollywood Bowl, lights seem to be LA’s thing, without anyone ever really mentioning it.

But what about holiday lights? During this time of year, there seems to be so many options for those that love to venture out and see a bevy of lit-up palm trees and twinkling art installations that it’s hard to know where to start.

So, here is a list of what I think are the most “glowing” spots around the city this time of year:

1. Enchanted: Forest of Lights at Descanso Gardens – I mentioned this recently in a social post, but its worth mentioning again. Enchanted is an interactive, nighttime experience featuring a one-mile walk through unique lighting experiences in Descanso Gardens. Runs: Nov. 18-Jan. 6

2. LA Zoo – See the zoo come alive in holiday fashion with a lighted jungle featuring the Northern Lights and an Elephant Kaleidoscope. Runs: Nov. 16-Jan. 6

3. The Grove – Santa and his sleigh, the tree, the stage – it all gets set up on Oct 31st and lit on one special night with a concert usually hosted by Seth McFarlane. You can experience it all, minus the concert, but with a simulated snowfall every night at 7 and 8 pm, every day until Dec 25th.

4. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills – If you like a nice glamorous tree and some nightly jazz, this is the spot to stroll. And on your way out make sure to take Wilshire to spot Santa and his reindeer flying over the street at the corner of Beverly.

5. Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena – This may be far from the city itself, but if you do find yourself out in Altadena, be sure to stop by the Balian house, a mansion that sits on 4 acres and is lit up by almost 10,000 holiday lights.

6. DTLA Walking Tour Holiday Lights – A two hour holiday lights walking tour that starts at Union Station and ends at Pershing Square giving you the opportunity to see all the beauty of DTLA during the holiday season. There is also an ice rink at Pershing Square if you have the energy to partake after the walk.

L.A. also has a ton of other festive options – plus, you can simply drive around and see some local homes that deck the halls in their own unique ways.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Juliette Hohnen & Associates!

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Always Think Big and Shop Small

Small Business Saturday came and went this year and it was quite a success for many small businesses around the country – a record high $17.8 billion to be exact.

That is wonderful news for all our friends who run small biz commerce, but this doesn’t have to be a one day event. Plus, many of us prefer to to avoid shopping right after a holiday. We can continue to support local makers, artisans and creatives by purchasing the meaningful gifts they sell rather than the mass produced drivel many people wrap up and dish off to their family and friends year after year.

If you’re still looking for unique gifts, here is a list of all the small biz shops I love and will continue to support this holiday season:

1. Burro on Abbot Kinneyburrogoods.com
Burro carries an eclectic, thoughtful selection of everything you need to live a well-styled California life.

2. Guild on Abbot Kinneyguildla.com
Women’s fashion boutique and home to some favorite brands from around the world, like Freda Salvador and X Karla.

3. Tumbleweed & Dandelion on Abbot Kinneytumbleweedanddandelion.com

For the past two decades, Tumbleweed & Dandelion has provided Southern California and clients from around the world with custom home furnishings and goods all handmade in America.

4. Ya Livingwww.yaliving.com

Ya living collaborates with some of the most talented and skilled artisans and designers across the globe. Using the printing, dying and embroidery techniques they have developed and perfected over centuries, they create products that have a contemporary sensibility and exotic appeal.

5. Maison Bettina Duncanmaisonbettinaduncan.com

Maison Bettina Duncan jewelry is designed by Bettina and her team in Los Angeles using all natural gemstones sourced from around the world.

Also, while you’re getting your last minute shopping done, pop in some headphones and click here to check out my November Spotify Playlist.

DISCLAIMER: 150 EL CAMINO DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90212. 310 595 3888 © 2018 DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE. ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. WHILE, THIS INFORMATION IS BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT, IT IS REPRESENTED SUBJECT TO ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ALL PROPERTY INFORMATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO SQUARE FOOTAGE, ROOM COUNT, NUMBER OF BEDROOMS AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN PROPERTY LISTINGS SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ARCHITECT OR ZONING EXPERT. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY