homeless housing

LA’s Plan for Homeless Housing on City-Owned Land Goes Sour

In Archive by Patrick Range McDonald

UPDATE: Click here to read the disappointing report yourself, that does not guarantee homeless housing on 12 parcels of city-owned land, that were supposed to help relieve the homeless crisis

A City Council and mayoral plan to address L.A.’s homeless emergency with fast-built homeless housing on 12 parcels of city land has turned into a farce, with developers this week proposing everything from “affordable” to luxury housing — but not much homeless housing.

In a report quietly released Wednesday by the L.A. City Administrative Officer — the same day that a federal study found L.A. leads the U.S. in chronically homeless — developers proposed only 500 units of housing, total. And only a modest portion of it is earmarked for the homeless.

City leaders, faced with opposition from residential and business areas where the “homeless housing” was envisioned, have been quietly backing away from their own homeless housing concept for weeks.

City Hall had identified public land in West L.A., Westchester, Lincoln Heights, Venice, South L.A., Sylmar and San Pedro, often near schools, churches, parks and homes.

The Los Angeles Times reported in October that elected leaders and city officials “spent months developing plans for converting as many as 12 city-owned sites into housing for the city’s homeless residents.”

No longer, it seems.

Behind the scenes, city officials quietly turned their emergency homeless housing initiative into the vaguely worded “Affordable Housing Opportunities Sites” plan. The proposal released yesterday even suggests “market rate housing” — luxury housing — on some city land.

The famously slow-moving City Council might be able to house more homeless, and do it faster, by tapping the empty Parker Center police headquarters not far from their own offices at City Hall.

City Hall’s much watered-down new concept is set to be discussed at a hearing today. According to the  recommendations, two of the 12 city parcels — closed-down fire stations in San Pedro and Westchester — should be sold and the money placed in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

It was only weeks ago that the L.A. Times reported City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana was overseeing “the homeless housing initiative,” which was “aimed at building permanent supportive housing — the kind that includes substance abuse counseling or other services.”

But the widely awaited report suggests that elected officials are enthused about erecting homeless housing only at one locale — a city-owned traffic island in South Los Angeles adjacent to the 110 and 105 freeways.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, L.A. is home to nearly 13,000 chronically homeless — and 95 percent of them live outdoors in cars, tents and encampments.

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