Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles has initiated a $20 million campaign to extend the city’s provision of shelter to the homeless with an announcement that plans are in action to utilize a parking lot owned by the city in Korea-town to help remedy the problem.
The plan is in its initial stages and details regarding cost and capacity are not yet available but Mayor Garcetti says that he is hoping to see the project provide shelter for at least 65 individuals.
The announcement of the proposed plan took on a pep rally-like atmosphere and included Herb Wesson, the president of the City Council along with dozens of members representing the Korean-American, African-American, and Bangladeshi communities. There were also members of the local clergy and city business leaders present to applaud the efforts on the part of the mayor.
Mayor Garcetti, as well as city council president Wesson, have made it clear that the $20 million pledge is in no way intended to replace or take away from a larger initiative in which more than $1 billion has been pledged for the permanent construction of housing for the homeless. Instead, the shelters to be built are seen as a temporary solution until permanent housing can be constructed.
Garcetti, while speaking at a press conference, says that the homeless residents of Los Angeles do not have years to wait for more long-term housing solutions to be constructed and that the temporary shelters are needed immediately.
Larry Gross, who works with a group calling itself the Coalition For Economic Survival, applauds the use of land owned by the city to provide shelter for the homeless to instead of making use of rent vouchers because he says this approach preserves rent-controlled apartments for the benefit of the working poor.
The mayor also announced that other possible locations for homeless shelters may be a vacant lot located next to the YMCA in Hollywood and an empty space alongside a diner just outside of Chinatown. The first shelter that is part of the city’s initiative will house 45 people and is set to open in downtown Los Angeles in mid-summer.