Councilmember Huizar leads effort to approve programs tied to $20 million in emergency funds that Huizar called for in 2018 to address homelessness emergency in Skid Row and Downtown Los Angeles – He calls for more funding as he introduces new legislation to earmark more homelessness funds on Friday following his legislation last week calling for more services to clean up Downtown’s streets
LOS ANGELES (June 14, 2019) — Councilmember José Huizar led an effort on the City Council Friday to approve $2.7 million in homelessness housing and service funds earmarked for Skid Row and Downtown Los Angeles. The allocation is part of $20 million in state Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds that the City Council approved specifically for Skid Row after Huizar made a public appeal in 2018 for more emergency resources for Skid Row – ground zero for homelessness in the City.
At Friday’s City Council meeting, Huizar said he thinks Skid Row and Downtown will need an additional $20 million in state HEAP funds once state legislators agree on a statewide disbursement plan for a second round of funding.
Last week, Huizar reaffirmed his call for more emergency resources in Skid Row and Downtown Los Angeles when he introduced legislation for additional illegal dumping cleanups and resources – including crews manned by homeless and formerly homeless individuals through the non-profit Chrysalis. That motion will be heard in the Energy, Climate Change & Environmental Justice Committee on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.
And Huizar introduced two new motions Friday – one to earmark another $2.7 million in HEAP funds for additional emergency housing and hygiene services in Skid Row. The other specifically to move forward with the relocation of the 24-hour Refresh Spot in Skid Row, where restrooms, showers and laundry services are available to those experiencing homelessness. The previous Pit Stop temporary location at the Weingart Center’s parking lot will close soon so that 278 units of supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness can be built at that service site, with funding provided by Measure HHH.
“If we’re going to address homelessness, Skid Row and Downtown Los Angeles must be at the front-line of solutions,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “While the $20 million that I called for and we are now allocating is a start, it clearly will not be enough. The homelessness emergency that we are facing is expanding. We need more resources and services if we’re going to come close to matching the tragic epidemic that is playing out throughout our City’s streets, but nowhere more starkly and profoundly than Skid Row.”
The two new Huizar motions will head to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee before coming back to the full Council for approval. Once those motions are approved, $11 million of the $20 million for Skid Row will have been allocated, with the rest expected within the next few months. Among the future allocations expected will be funding for the relocation of the Refresh Spot.
Friday’s City Council vote approved a motion introduced by Huizar calling for:
- $779,000 for two Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Homeless Engagement Teams specific to Skid Row for two years to augment the C3 outreach teams that have full loads in this area.
- $750,000 to expand shower and restroom services at The People Concern, next to the new Bin add eight hours to have services for 24 hours and 7 days a week for two years.
- $593,250 for tenant improvements at the new location for “The Bin,” which provides voluntary storage space at 538 San Pedro Street.
- $266,000 to expand restroom and shower access at St Vincent de Paul for two years.
- $250,000 for at least five drinking fountains, co-located with attended Automatic Public Toilets (APTs).
- $60,000 for installation and servicing of at least six Sharps collection boxes to help reduce improper disposal of hazardous materials; four co-located with attended ATPs and one each at The Bin and the Refresh Spot.
And in January, the City Council approved the disbursement of $5.6 million of Skid Row HEAP funds to:
- Provide $1.3 million for three-year lease to provide 119 beds for the second emergency bridge housing site with services in Council District 14 at Paloma Street in Downtown Los Angeles.
- $350,000 to support an overnight shelter at the Downtown Women’s Center
- $2 million for Pit Stop expansion to now include all Automated Public Toilets (APTs) in Skid Row and adding a mobile shower which will include service on Saturdays at the County’s Department of Mental Health clinic.
- $2 million for employment of homeless residents to provide street sweeping and litter clean up in the Skid Row area.
In addressing homelessness, Councilmember Huizar helped establish the City’s Homelessness & Poverty Committee, the position of the Homelessness Coordinator and is the co-author of Measure HHH. Council District 14 is at the top of the City and United Way’s Supportive Housing Tracker list for the 222 permanent supportive housing pledge, with 816 units approved, and 2,956 existing units.
Councilmember Huizar was also the first to commit to working with the Mayor to bring city-sponsored emergency bridge housing with supportive services to his council district at El Pueblo and has since won Council approval of a second such site, at 1426 Paloma St. in Downtown LA.
Separately, Huizar introduced a motion on Tuesday after discussions with Eagle Rock residents and groups, including The Eagle Rock Association (TERA) and the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, to work with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to evaluate the possibility of bringing another bridge housing site to CD14 for homeless families at the dormant St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on 2109 Chickasaw Ave.