Los Angeles city leaders are pressing forward with plans to build new emergency homeless shelters on land owned by the city.
Last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Council president Herb Wesson announced that a shelter would rise in a transportation department parking lot in Koreatown, and at least seven more city-owned parcels are being considered for shelter sites. That’s in addition to a group of trailers near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument that will be installed later this year.
Sites include a vacant lot in South LA at Figueroa Street and Slauson Avenue, a small parking facility near the Hollywood YMCA, and a West LA lot on Santa Monica Boulevard (across the street from the Beverly Hills Porsche dealership).
Councilmember Paul Krekorian has proposed a total of eight sites in the San Fernando Valley, but not all would hold shelters; some could support parking lots for people living in their vehicles, or storage centers for homeless residents to use, according to Krekorian’s motion.
Ian Thompson, a spokesperson for the councilmember, tells Curbed that Krekorian “wants to move forward aggressively to provide housing and services for the homeless” in his district.
Other potential sites for shelters include a pair of lots along busy Ventura Boulevard, a vacant parcel near the Van Nuys Metrolink station, and a lot in the heart of the North Hollywood Arts District.
Thanks to a new state law, construction of new shelters will be accelerated, allowing projects to bypass much of the city’s lengthy planning process. Garcetti announced last month that he would include $20 million in his proposed 2018-19 budget to fund the new temporary housing centers, expected to provide about 1,500 beds to residents who might otherwise be sleeping on streets and sidewalks.
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the city of Los Angeles has fewer than 8,000 shelter beds to serve more than 34,000 homeless residents. A recent KPCC investigation found that poor conditions in many of those shelters mean that thousands of those beds are unoccupied each night.
The mayor argues that the shelters constructed through his new plan, called “A Bridge Home,” will serve as transitional space where residents can stay while waiting on permanent housing the city is funding through Measure HHH. That ballot initiative produced $1.2 billion to build 10,000 units of supportive housing with on-site services for residents, like job training and drug counseling.
Plans call for the shelters to be in use for three years. Residents are only expected to stay a few months—enough time to be connected with needed social services and a long-term residence.
The shelters will include beds, bathrooms, and storage for residents’ belongings.
According to Anna Bahr, deputy press secretary for Garcetti, LA County will pay to staff each shelter with service providers so that residents have access to healthcare, addiction treatment, and case management.
These facilities might not be popular with neighbors. Already, some Koreatown residents and business owners have protested the shelter set to rise close to the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont. A petition opposing it has garnered close to 8,000 signatures since last week.
Vanessa Rodriguez, a spokesperson for Wesson, tells Curbed that the councilmember is also considering a site at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Venice Boulevard, but that a shelter there would be “in addition to,” rather than “in lieu of” the Koreatown structure.