Council Approves HHH-Funded Housing and Plan to Examine Four Downtown Los Angeles Sites as Emergency Bridge Housing and Services

City Council voted on a motion initiated by Councilmember Huizar seeking privately-owned sites to use for bridge housing and services in Downtown LA and Skid Row – the largest concentration of homelessness in the nation

LOS ANGELES (January 29, 2019) — The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to move forward with examining four sites for emergency bridge housing and services for Downtown Los Angeles and Skid Row’s unsheltered homeless population. The action comes from a motion introduced by Councilmember José Huizar in November.

On Friday, January 25, 2019, the City Council approved entitlements for The Weingart Center to build more long-term housing at its location in Skid Row. The project is partially funded by Measure HHH, which Councilmember Huizar co-authored. It will reach 18 stories and include 278 apartments: 220 supportive housing units for people experiencing homelessness, 55 units set aside for very-low-income affordable housing and three manager units.

“Our recent actions in Council reaffirm our commitment to getting people off the streets and into housing and supportive services,” said Councilmember Huizar. “I’ve often said Skid Row needs a triage-like approach to respond to this humanitarian crisis. Approving the Weingart tower entitlements and examining four additional sites for housing and services is a great step toward housing some of our most vulnerable Angelenos and breaking the cycle of despair in Skid Row.”

After Tuesday’s vote, the City will examine the feasibility of establishing shelter and/or crisis response services on site at 442 South San Pedro Street, 2426 East Washington Blvd., 606 East 6th Street and 540 Towne Ave. Final approval for use of any of these properties, and any decisions on cost and funding sources will be considered by the City Council after the evaluation phase. The owners of 2426 East Washington Blvd. and 540 Towne Ave. have expressed interest in entering into a lease with the City to also provide crisis bridge housing. A former church at 606 East 6th Street is centrally located in Skid Row and could provide space for hygiene and/or drop-in services.

The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) operates supportive housing and services at 442 South San Pedro and is interested in keeping open its day center for overnight use as bridge housing. In addition, DWC is interested in building more supportive housing on the City-owned parking lot it uses, located in front of its building at the corner of 5th and San Pedro in Skid Row. Councilmember Huizar introduced a motion on January 18, 2019, calling for the City to examine how to make the property available for such a development.

In March 2018, the City Council approved a motion by Councilmember Huizar calling for increased efforts to address the unsheltered population living on the streets of Skid Row, including looking for sites to expand emergency homeless housing. Since then, $10 million was placed in the City budget for emergency response to areas of high concentration, like Skid Row, and another $20 million in state funding for emergency response to homelessness has been directed by the City Council to go toward the Skid Row area.

In September, Councilmember Huizar and Mayor Garcetti teamed up to open the City’s first bridge-housing on City property at an El Pueblo (Olvera Street) parking lot in Downtown.

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