The legendary Venice handball courts have a rich and storied history.  They have hosted hundreds of tournaments and been a hang out for multiple generations of players from all over the world.  Angelenos, tourists, celebrities, and pro athletes alike have competed on these hallowed 3 ball walls.   They are some of the most famous courts in the world.  However, currently they are a homeless encampment.
As the state mandated lockdown took hold in March, transient campers moved into the courts.  Although it is against the law to camp in the park, LAPD and the staff at Venice Beach Recreation and Parks were told to stand down.  Now, six months and dozens of calls about violent assaults later, the courts are a filthy mess, impassable and soaked in stench, with  20+ full time residents.
Long time handball player Michael Koss has had enough.  The Brooklyn born transplant has been playing 3 wall for almost 35 years, learning the game from his childhood friend, Vincent Cangelosi, who was tragically killed in the Twin Towers on 911.
Koss started a petition to get the courts cleaned up on Sunday 08/16/20, and sent it out via social media to a few friends in the handball and Venice community.  5 days later it has 1,200 signatures and it gaining momentum.
Hoping to get the attention of local politicians who can take necessary action, Mike clarifies:  this is not an attack on the homeless.  We are simply asking for a fence around the handball courts, the same way the paddle tennis courts have fences.  We want  to enjoy a clean, safe facility, while playing our sport.

In this article:

  • View “Save the Venice Beach Handball Courts’ petition
  • See why other supporters are signing & why this petition is important to them!
  • View Pre-Covid Handball photos by Venice Paparazzi

Here is a message from Michael Koss:

The four 3-wall handball courts located within the Venice Beach Recreation Center have had issues with homeless people living on them for years.  This has become exponentially worse during the pandemic.  The law clearly states that nobody is allowed to stay in the park after dark, yet this has never been enforced.  This has caused the actual users of the facility to have to clean them ourselves on a daily basis, even cleaning away urine and feces, obviously potential hazards to our health.

These handball courts are so important to so many – the daily regular players, players from around the world, the tourists that love to watch the hard-fought matches, and all the models that use them for photo shoots.  Handball is fantastic exercise, enjoyed by young and old, and easy to learn.  The regulars are always teaching people how to play.  Our tournaments always draw many spectators.

It is not fair that the paddle tennis courts (located only a few feet away) are currently being enjoyed as they are protected with fences and our beloved handball courts are not.  We ask the same: Protect our handball courts!  The solution can be as easy as building a fence around the courts and the bleachers, or a collapsible gate that stretches across the courts.

Photos courtesy of Michael Koss.

Photo courtesy of Michael Koss.

See why supporters are signing, and why this petition is important to them!

Open the courts for handball. We pay for these, should be able to use them—safely! – Senator Gloria Romero (Ret.) Romero

This beach park is for all. – Heidi Roberts

They need to go to a shelter not trash the courts – Anthony Rodriquez

A clean city is better for everyone – Isabel Hernandez
Please clean and protect the handball courts. Handball and other outdoor activities are very important, physically and mentally, during these hard times.  – Jery Goldstein
Give the handball courts back to the players!  – Daniel Rodriguez
It’s not only the handball courts, but the entire boardwalk that the City is allowing to be a massive, scary and disgusting homeless encampment. This must stop. The beach is for everyone. The filth freighters and prevents residents of LA and visitors from enjoying our public park and LAs only beach.  – Robin Murez
Lets relocate these folks and find them space that doesn’t infringe on public spaces. Compassion doesn’t mean ignoring the plight of hungry homeless people.  – Kevin Crilley
I want our kids to feel safe in the city they were raised in. I want families to be able to go to the beach. We committed to facilities being built and now nobody is committing to assisting with residents and business owners of the community to clean up the streets.
By allowing this, you are creating a lawlessness. There are dirty needles, urine, feces, stolen property, abuse being fostered by this negligence. Protect us. Clean our city. Move the vandals out. Help those who are sick get services. Stop this insanity. We want our beaches & neighborhood to be safe. – Amy Scherer-Ramskill
#1 health and Safety for our children shall be a priority!
#2 Our elected officials SHALL do their job!
#3 Provided mental health locations for those with this disability
#4 Provide homeless assistance provided by the city agencies
Citizens shall vote those responsible for no action out of office.
– Andrew Gutierrez
I’m signing to clean our courts up and keep them clean. They are not courts to sleep in, urinate or camp in them. They are to help us stay active and an outlet to release our stress by playing the sport . Thank you – Daniel Gonzales

View more comments here!

Sign the petition!

View Pre-Covid Handball photos by Venice Paparazzi

Photos from past US National Handball Tournaments, 3 on 3 Summer Slam events, and Los Angeles Fire Department 3-Wall Handball Tournaments

Danny Trejo always joined in on the Venice Beach Handball Courts fun!

All photos by Venice Paparazzi.  Having a post post-Covid party?  Think of Venice Paparazzi for your event photographers or photo booth needs.

Help Clean and Protect the Famous Venice Beach Handball Courts! Sign the petition here!

For more Venice Beach Handball info:  Venice Recreation and Parks Center, 1800 Ocean Front Walk. Venice, Ca 90291, 310-399-2775.


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