City Council Approves New Temporary Shelter Lease in Downtown LA

Council approves lease for City-County temp shelter that will house approximately 92 men and 23 women providing them bridge housing and counseling – vote follows Huizar motion introduced Friday directing $2.7 million for Hygiene Services in Skid Row.

LOS ANGELES (April 16, 2019) — On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously (10-0) in support of the final signed lease and sublease for temporary emergency housing at 1426 Paloma Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Council earlier gave City staff approval to negotiate a lease with the property owner at its February 26, 2019 meeting. Today’s action includes lease terms.

With a finalized lease, on-site improvements, service preparation and focused outreach can begin. The facility is expected to open at the end of summer 2019.

The lease agreement is one of several homeless-service solutions Councilmember Huizar is currently working on. On Friday, April 12, Councilmember Huizar introduced a motion, which recommends allocating $2.7 million in available funds from the statewide Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) to reflect the immediate needs of Skid Row. The motion calls for the money to fund health and hygiene facilities, such as bathrooms, showers, storage and drinking water. That motion will be heard next in the Homelessness & Poverty Committee.

“Skid Row and the surrounding area remain the epicenter of our homelessness crisis,” said Councilmember Huizar. “The $2.7 million will provide more hygiene options for the underserved population of people experiencing homelessness in Skid Row and will protect available storage for people to keep their property off of the streets. And with the lease for the Paloma shelter finalized, we can begin the renovations to help 115 men and women reclaim their lives and get the housing and supportive services they need.”

The $2.7 million in HEAP funds will go to a variety of improvements including two Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) homeless engagement teams specific to Skid Row, improvements for The Bin voluntary storage facility, 24/7 shower and restroom services at The People Concern, expanded restroom and shower access at St. Vincent de Paul, five drinking fountains and six Sharps collection boxes to help reduce improper disposal of hazardous materials.

Councilmember Huizar’s motion for the temporary shelter, which he introduced in January, is a City-County effort to further address homelessness in Downtown Los Angeles. Funding for the site and the lease agreement is being executed through Mayor Garcetti’s “A Bridge Home” program. Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Huizar successfully opened the pilot Bridge Home site in September at El Pueblo, also in Downtown Los Angeles. With renovations expected to take three months, the Paloma Street location would be the third A Bridge Home facility to open in the City and the second in Council District 14. Los Angeles County, under the leadership of District 2 Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, will fund the critical services for those staying at the future site through Measure H dollars. Measure H, approved by voters in March 2017, will enable LA County’s Housing for Health Division and the nonprofit “Home at Last” to provide Paloma residents with essential wraparound services.

Councilmember Huizar is the co-author of Measure HHH and was the first City Councilmember to work with the Mayor to bring emergency 24/7/365 city-sponsored bridge housing with supportive services to his council district. Huizar also called for a triage-like response to the homeless crisis in and around Skid Row.

Around A Bridge Home facilities, the City focuses extra sanitation and police resources, as well as targeted outreach to people encamped in the surrounding area. Ninety days prior to a Bridge Home facility opening, outreach teams are deployed to inform people living in the surrounding area of housing options that are available to them and offer an opportunity to sign-up for the Bridge Home’s waitlist. Once opened, each of the beds located in the facility are assigned and each of the individuals housed is assigned a dedicated caseworker who assists with connecting them with services, such as a job training, addiction programs, therapy, as well as transitioning into long-term housing.

The 2018 Homeless Count identified some 600 people living without shelter in the industrial area of Downtown south of Skid Row, from 7th to 21st streets between Maple Avenue and Alameda Street. The Paloma Street site was identified when the property owner, Michael Kaboud, approached the County about using part of his facility to address the homelessness crisis. The site is currently a clothing warehouse and Kaboud is dedicating part of the space to bridge housing.

The property owner will continue to operate an adjacent portion of the building for his business. Service providers, “Home At Last,” will provide on-site wrap-around services, such as counseling, housing navigation, therapy, and medical attention. The site will also have 24-hour security in addition to an increased LAPD presence around the area.