The motion instructs the City to work with Downtown Women’s Center to develop a parking lot into housing and services – part of Councilmember Huizar’s larger efforts on homelessness

LOS ANGELES (April 17, 2019) — The Los Angeles City Council approved a motion introduced by Councilmember José Huizar Wednesday instructing the City’s Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) to begin discussions with the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) to lease or transfer a City-owned parking lot at 501 East 5th Street for conversion into homeless housing and services.

The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) operates supportive housing and services at 442 South San Pedro, adjacent to the parking lot. The former Community Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles (CRALA) owned the site until it dissolved and transferred it to HCID. HCID has a covenant agreement with DWC to use the location for parking. As part of any future agreement, the parking covenant must be revised to develop the site for housing.

“Downtown Women’s Center has long been a key partner in our fight against homelessness, helping women get off the streets and into housing, “said Councilmember Huizar. “Today’s vote allows an important conversation to take place: how can the City work with the DWC to serve more homeless women than they currently do? With women representing a rising portion of Los Angeles’ homeless population, any effort to better serve them is well worth it.”

“Over the last 40 years the Downtown Women’s Center has ended homelessness for hundreds of women by providing permanent housing combined with supportive services,” said Lisa Watson, DWC’s interim CEO. “We look forward to taking this first step with the City to develop additional permanent supportive housing to address the 35% increase of women experiencing homelessness in the Skid Row community.”

The motion is part of Councilmember Huizar’s broader effort to address homelessness. On April 16, the City Council finalized the lease agreement for another temporary shelter on 1426 Paloma Street, the second A Bridge Home shelter in Downtown LA.

Councilmember Huizar also led the call for more emergency housing and services in and around Skid Row, leading to $20 million in state funds being dedicated to Skid Row.

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