Homelessness is a major concern in Southern California. Over 2016, the amount of homeless people in Los Angeles County increased by 23%–meaning that the number jumped to about 57,794 people.
There are efforts being made to build housing for homeless people. However, in many areas there is local opposition against the development of residences for people in such situations.
There is a debate as to whether or not a homeless housing development should be built in Boyle Heights. The proposed housing complex would be built on an empty lot, on Lorena Street and 1st Street. Most of the people in the community, which is predominantly Latino, do not want the housing complex to be built in their area. A City Council committee blocked the passage of a proposal to build this housing complex.
The proposed housing complex would be named Lorena Plaza, and it would hold 49 units. Half of these units would be for mentally ill people. The building would be right next to the Metro Gold Line, as well as a Mexican American cultural institution with shops and a restaurant.
Business owners and citizens in the area oppose the development of the building complex for a variety of reasons. The local business owners claim that, safety-wise, it is not a good idea to build the housing complex. The area would not be very pedestrian friendly. Being so close to the tracks of the Metro Gold Line may pose a safety hazard. Also, there is an abandoned oil well on the lot where Lorena Plaza would be built, and local business owners claim that it might not be safe to build residences on top of such a site.
A non-profit organization called A Community of Friends has been working on pushing the proposal for Lorena Plaza, though they are having a pretty hard time.