Archive | Curbed LA

Latest items syndicated in from LA Curbed (http://la.curbed.com/) related to homelessness.

Federal judge: Homeless living along LA freeways must be given shelter

May 15, 2020
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Getty Images Los Angeles wasn’t “addressing this problem with any urgency”

Los Angeles has been ordered by a federal judge to “humanely” move all homeless residents away from freeways and into shelters—and the city and county have less than one week to comply.

Under a preliminary injunction issued this afternoon, which applies to the city and county of Los Angeles, anyone camped in the “vicinity” of freeway overpasses and underpasses and near entrance and exit ramps must be given shelter or “an alternative housing option,” such as a safe parking site or hotel or motel room.

In issuing the injunction, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter said it was “unreasonably dangerous” to allow people to live in areas that may be contaminated with lead and other toxins or that carry increased risk of being injured or killed in a car crash or earthquake.

He said he was compelled to intervene because neither the city or the county appeared “to be addressing this problem with any urgency.”

Once the city and county meet all of the requirements in the injunction, they can enforce anti-camping laws in these areas, he said, though it’s not specified how many feet or miles from freeways the order would be enforced. The order is set to go into effect at noon May 22.

In 2018, Carter issued a similar ruling in Orange County when he ordered officials to immediately house 1,000 living in tent camps in the Santa Ana River. As a result, Orange County cities committed to opening enough shelters to house all the camp residents.

One detail that’s not made clear in the temporary LA ruling is where exactly the unhoused residents will go. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the city of LA has turned recreation centers into emergency shelters, which are currently housing 988 people, but cannot add more capacity due to social distancing guidance. The city is also negotiating leases with hotels and motels with a goal of housing 15,000 at-risk homeless residents, but currently only 1,850 rooms are filled.

For decades, Los Angeles has failed to provide enough shelter to house people living on the streets and in their cars. In 2017, a United Nations official who toured Skid Row called LA’s homelessness crisis a “tragic indictment of community and government policies.”

Complying with the ruling will require a massive undertaking, mostly because Los Angeles County is so large and is traversed by so many freeways. Los Angeles is home to an estimated 974 miles of state and federal freeways traveling through the 4,751 square-mile county. Last year, a point-in-time survey counted 58,936 homeless residents, 44,214 of whom were unsheltered.

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LA is housing its homeless in hotel rooms. How about the Ritz?

May 12, 2020
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The Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott opened in 2005 in Downtown Los Angeles after the city agreed to let the developer keep up to $270 million in tax revenue. | Shutterstock It’s time for them to give back, say some city leaders

Since 2005, the city of Los Angeles has given developers of eight hotels in Downtown more than $797 million.

The gifts have come in the form of tax breaks: The city forecasts how much tax revenue the hotel will generate, then once it’s up and running, only collects a portion of the proceeds for a set period of time or up to a certain amount. The questionable justification for the public investment has always been that more hotel rooms were needed to bring larger events to the Los Angeles Convention Center, which in turn, would generate money for the city.

But there are very few, if any, tourists in Los Angeles right now. Hotel rooms are sitting empty, while thousands of people camp on the streets and at parks and in cars.

A similar story is playing out across the country—more than 70 percent of hotel rooms are vacant, according to STR. It’s why California Gov. Gavin Newsom launched Project Roomkey, a state-funded effort to sign temporary lease agreements allowing homeless residents to isolate themselves in hotel and motel rooms. It’s widely regarded as the best way to shelter unhoused residents during a pandemic that has killed 2,770 people statewide, including 1,569 in Los Angeles County.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council directed its regional homeless services agency to compile a list of all hotels that have been approached for Project Roomkey but are not participating. It might be time, some city leaders say, for those publicly subsidized hotels to give back.

Project Roomkey participants are selected and prioritized based on their age and risk factors for contracting COVID-19, get their own rooms, showers, bathrooms, and three meals daily. But LA County has fallen far short of its goal of securing 15,000 rooms. As of Thursday, 3,101 rooms were made available through the program, and only 1,672 were occupied. Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin says he’s unimpressed with the numbers.

“I don’t think any of us, six weeks ago when were calling for an urgent, FEMA-like response to COVID-19 and getting people off the street, thought we would be talking about of 1,500 or 1,600 people,” he said last week. “We all thought things would be bigger.”

In calling for the list, the councilmembers appear to be laying the foundation for something bigger: requiring the owners of hotels that got public financing or that were built on city-owned land to use their properties to address the current crisis. Those hotels include the Ritz-Carlton and the InterContinental at the Wilshire Grand, where the president has stayed on trips to Los Angeles.

The biggest hotel tax break that the city has doled out so far went to the development of the Ritz.

In 2005, then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa agreed to let developer Anschutz Entertainment Group keep up to $270 million in tax revenue that the city would have otherwise collected over a 25-year period to build a 54-story high-rise that houses the Ritz and an 878-room J.W. Marriott. AEG operates the Staples Center, is a majority owner of the Los Angeles Kings, and produces the most famous music festival in the world, Coachella.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he’s not afraid to use his executive powers to seize hotels for Project Roomkey, but inferred that nicer hotels would be off the table.

“We shouldn’t necessarily commandeer $500 and $800 hotel rooms when we can house people with the same dollars for less,” he told reporters at a briefing last week. “We don’t want to overspend taxpayer dollars.”

But given the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19, “hotels are starved for income right now,” Bonin said.

Criticism of the idea hasn’t been about whether hotels should give back. Rather, it’s grounded in the view that homeless residents don’t deserve such nice lodgings, especially if the accommodations are anywhere near where the elite meet. That’s how ABC7 framed a story on Project Roomkey:

Imagine spending millions of dollars to buy one of the luxurious Ritz-Carlton residences in downtown Los Angeles only to learn you may soon be sharing space with the homeless.

In addition to holding 123 hotel rooms and 13 suites, the glass-clad Ritz tower on Olympic Boulevard also contains 224 condos that sell for upwards of $1 million. ABC7 obtained an email from the Ritz’s homeowner’s association that says it has “resisted” Project Roomkey over concerns about “safety, security, property values and overall lifestyle.”

“We were all shocked and offended when we found out this might be a possibility,” Art Avaness, broker and owner of RE/MAX DTLA told Fox11. “Having it in your own home basically is just a little too much; in fact, it’s offensive.”

But hotels like the Ritz owe the public, said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.

“The fact that we give public subsidies, public dollars to these hotels... would seem to me to be a complete justification that we expect something back,” he said. “Especially during an emergency.”

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Bellflower bargains to solve its homeless problem

May 8, 2020
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A rendering of the Bellflower shelter, converted from an old warehouse. | Courtesy of Studio One Eleven It’s building its very first shelter exclusively for residents with ties to the city

In 2018, the leaders of Bellflower, a small city in Los Angeles County, had what Mayor Juan Garza calls a “wake-up moment.”

For the first time in the Bellflower’s history, a citywide poll had found homelessness, not crime, to be the issue that most concerned residents. “Bar none, every single year, crime had always been the No. 1 issue,” Garza says.

The city didn’t have a single homeless shelter, but it did have 166 homeless residents, according to a point-in-time survey, and most of them were living on the streets and in tents and cars or RVs.

In September 2019, Bellflower’s elected leaders did something astonishing. They voluntarily joined a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit that was forcing cities in adjacent Orange County to build homeless shelters.

They could have built a shelter on their own, but the settlement presented a win-win opportunity, Garza says.

The city agreed to build 50 beds available only to homeless residents who have ties to the city, like a previous address or attendance at the local high school. And, in exchange, it would win the right to enforce anti-camping and “anti-nuisance” laws against anyone living on the streets who declined a shelter bed.

“If we didn’t make this exclusive to Bellflower, our residents would have rejected it,” Garza says. “And my City Council that is traditionally very conservative went along with it.”

The agreement was signed on September 23, when city manager Jeff Stewart says he and his team at City Hall got to work. At first they zeroed in on an empty piece of land near the San Gabriel River but changed course as the cost to develop it ballooned—the utility connections alone were priced at $2 million.

By December, they had decided to either buy or lease an existing building. In three days, they inventoried every available large commercial property in the city. One week later, they signed a lease for a 1960s prefab warehouse nestled behind a feed store on Lakewood Boulevard.

Right before Christmas, Michael Bohn, an architect who had just finished a food hall made of shipping containers for Bellflower, got a call from the city’s contractor, Howard CDM.

“They said, ‘The city wants this to happen fast. They don’t want this to be a five-year process and not a one-year process,’” he says.

Through his Long Beach firm, Studio One Eleven, John had also designed subsidized apartments for homeless residents. He says he understands the urgency of putting a roof over the heads of people who live on the streets, because the people who live on the streets are dying.

“This is about: How do we get people off the streets immediately?” Bohn says, referencing a September 2019 report that found nearly three homeless residents die daily in Los Angeles County.

In the span of five months, a remarkable timeline by LA standards, Studio One Eleven sketched out a blueprint for free-standing rooms and offices within the steel-frame building. Howard CDM built out the spaces. And Mercy House, the nonprofit social-services provider that was selected operate the shelter, moved in furniture.

“We started construction literally two months after we got the call in December and started sketching,” Bohn says. “We’re very proud.”

Now the shelter is on track to open within a couple of weeks, at the cost of about $2 million. The timing couldn’t be more critical. There are at least 196 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death in the county’s homeless population, a disease that’s two to three times more deadly for people experiencing homelessness than the general population.

If the Bellflower timeline sticks, it will open two months before a homeless shelter in Los Feliz for which planning started 27 months ago. An $8.5 million shelter in Venice Beach opened in February, taking nearly two years. Both were beleaguered by lawsuits from neighbors.

The settlement that Bellflower joined is buffering the city from those types of lawsuits.

“What the judge has committed to is that he would claim jurisdiction to any lawsuit filed regarding the settlement and that Bellflower would be insulated from such litigation as long as we follow the guidelines in the agreement,” Stewart says.

That doesn’t mean Bellflower residents never got fired up about the plans, the mayor says.

At one City Council meeting in December, “the fever pitch was extremely high,” he says. “There were bad words, name calling, getting up to our faces, literally almost touching nose to nose.”

A similar federal lawsuit to Orange County’s is playing out in Los Angeles and is heading toward a settlement. One of the biggest issues in the case is finding housing as soon as possible for people living on the streets. In the face of a deadly pandemic, that’s never been as pressing as it is now.

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter—the same judge who oversaw the Orange County case—has indicated in court records that his priority is to help the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County come up with ways to provide “immediate access to shelter.” There are a few ways to do that. Homeless advocates have staged stunts and demonstrations to pressure LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to commandeer thousands more hotel rooms. Whatever the solution, everyone agrees: It must happen now, and it’s not happening fast enough.

Bellflower has the advantage of being a smaller city; plans can be vetted and approved more quickly. It has a population of 77,131 and covers just 6.1 square miles (the city of Los Angeles stretches for 502.7 square miles). Still, its shelter won’t go down as the fastest shelter ever built in LA.

In March, the county opened a temporary 40-bed shelter in a former health clinic in San Pedro, a project that only took six weeks to build once plans were approved. Also in March, Garcetti announced plans to reopen 42 recreation centers that had been shuttered during the coronavirus outbreak as temporary shelters. But within about a week, that number was slashed because of social distancing requirements: 24 are now open, with beds for 988 people. An estimated 11,177 people live in vehicles, tents, and makeshift shelters in the city of Los Angeles.

Bohn says the Bellflower mayor and the other elected leaders deserve a lot of credit for joining the lawsuit. “What Judge Carter is doing that’s so phenomenal is forcing cities to deal with the issue,” he says. “There was a burning desire to respond quickly. And this is the perfect time to speed these things up.”

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‘They see the trash… But they have to understand that this is someone’s home’

January 17, 2020
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An RV is towed from an encampment Wednesday in South LA. | Photos by Samanta Helou Hernandez What’s it like for RV dwellers during a city-sanctioned cleanup

Margarita Moreno sat surrounded by boxes of cooking supplies, bags of blankets, and a lamp, belongings she had kept in the RV she called home, but that was now being towed away because its registration had expired.

Until Wednesday, Moreno had lived in the RV, which she parked on Gage Avenue in South Central, for three months. She landed there, she says, after losing her job as an in-home caretaker.

“I’m going to stay with a friend until I can get back on my feet again,” she says.

Moreno was one of about 12 people who had their RVs impounded Wednesday as part of a scheduled cleanup of an encampment in the area. The operation, which started at 8 a.m., was one of many that happen across the city every day.

City cleanups are typically a collaboration among the Los Angeles Police Department, city sanitation department, and outreach workers from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

While LAPD enforced the impounding of vehicles on Wednesday, sanitation crews cleaned up the sidewalks, and case managers talked to residents and encouraged them to sign up for shelters.

In Los Angeles County, an estimated 16,527 people live in cars, vans, or RVs. In the city of Los Angeles, it’s illegal to do this in residential neighborhoods, leaving only a patchwork of commercial streets available for those sleeping in vehicles overnight.

Community members and businesses in the surrounding area had complained about the RV encampment, citing health and safety concerns, said LAPD Sgt. Joe Ward, of the Newton division.

“The main reason the clean up is happening today is if you look around you can see the RVs, a lot of them are dilapidated,” he said. “The ones we are taking have human urine coming out as well as human feces coming out, and it’s causing kids who walk to school to step in it.”

Residents stand with their belongings, most of which had been inside their RV.
Eight LAPD officers stand by during the cleanup.

On the day of the sweep, sanitation workers drained septic water that was leaking from one of the RVs and rounded up bulky items, such as shopping carts and bins that blocked large parts of the sidewalk.

Many activists have argued that these cleanups, which they refer to as “sweeps” because they can displace camp residents, are not the answer to LA’s homeless crisis. That’s especially true, they argue, in the weeks before the 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, where the data collected helps guide funding and the delivery of services.

In an open letter to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and city leaders this week, advocates and grassroots organizers who work with homeless residents say “enforcement actions aimed at encampments may affect the integrity and accuracy of the count.”

“With just over a week before the count is set to begin, these enforcement actions create additional problems above and beyond their typically damaging impact on the lives of homeless individuals. Specifically, sweeps requested by local politicians are creating potential problems for the integrity and political neutrality of the count,” they wrote.

Residents experiencing homelessness tend to agree.

“They see the trash, and it’s a problem. But they have to understand that this is someone’s home. They’re gonna have a lot of stuff,” says Esmeralda, who has lived in an RV on this block for two years with her mother, father (who is in a wheelchair), boyfriend, and two pets. Before living here, the 22-year-old paid rent on an apartment for her family, but could no longer afford it when she lost her job at a perfume factory.

This was the first time they had experienced a cleanup. “Why don’t they give us an appropriate spot where we can all park or at least provide showers, porta-potties, dumpsters, anything would be helpful,” she says.

After the RVs were cleared from the site, sanitation crews were set to clean up sidewalks.

About a half dozen RVs were towed during the operation.

“If they’re parked illegally we tow them, if they don’t have registration we tow them, and or if they’re a hazard to the community, like issues with leakage, we tow them,” said LAPD Sgt. Sean Wells, who works with the department’s homelessness coordinator’s office.

According to Ward, residents of the encampment were notified by service workers two months in advance. Some left before the cleanup started, but for others, moving wasn’t so simple.

Esmeralda and her family were receptive to the service workers, and were in the process of finding a place to park through Safe Parking LA when the sweep notice came. But on Wednesday, the day of the cleanup, she says their RV wouldn’t start.

“They didn’t even give us a chance to at least pull it,” she says. “I wish instead of taking it, they found a way to help us move it.”

According to Wells, once RVs are impounded, owners can pay fees, which average $339, plus a $53-per-day storage fee, to get them back; buy them back for a low price after they’re sold at a low price (sometimes they’re even given away) during the impound lot auction; or find an alternative place to sleep.

Because they don’t have a storage space, whatever belongings Esmeralda and her family couldn’t carry, were to be thrown away by sanitation crews. Their plan is to stay at a shelter for a while until they find a more stable place to live.

“We have nowhere to go to sleep, we don’t have a place with a roof on top of us,” she says. “I’ve lost my home. I’m stuck.”

By noon, most of the RVs had been towed. All that was left were a few pieces of furniture, some mattresses, and an old suitcase.

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Homeless deaths in LA County doubled between 2013 and 2018

October 30, 2019
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World Homeless Day The average death age for homeless residents is 51, compared to 73 for the general population, a new report finds. | Photo by Michele Crameri/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Being homeless in LA “is becoming increasingly deadly,” says a new report

The number of homeless residents dying in Los Angeles County doubled from 2013 to 2018, according to a report released Tuesday by county public health officials.

The number of deaths soared from 536 to 1,047. The death rate, which accounts for increases in the homeless population, also increased in that time period—by more than one-third, the report found.

“Homeless people are in fact dying at a higher rate because they’re homeless,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, referring to a lack of access to health services in the homeless population.

The leading cause of the increasing mortality rate? Drug and alcohol overdoses. Other main causes cited in the report include: Heart disease, transportation-related injuries (primarily among pedestrians and cyclists), and homicides, among others.

The report was presented Tuesday to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which had directed the health department to look into the coroner’s data related to homeless deaths. The results are sobering.

“We’re seeing two or three people every day coming through our office,” Los Angeles County Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas told the board.

The report is the first “comprehensive analysis” of deaths among people experiencing homelessness in the county.

“A principal finding is that the overall homeless mortality rate has steadily increased over the past six years,” the report says. “Put simply, being homeless in LA County is becoming increasingly deadly.”

The health department’s analysis found that homeless people died on average 22 years earlier than the general population. The average death age for homeless people was 51, compared to 73 for the general population.

The research also looks at the mortality rate among homeless people by race. From 2016 to 2018, white homeless people had the highest rate of deaths. But those rates decreased over the last two years, while the death rate among black and Latino homeless populations surged.

“This may have something to do with who’s getting placed in housing,” says Ferrer. “Our recommendation is going to be to look at how people are getting placed in housing and make sure those opportunities are open to everyone.”

The report also recommends that supervisors establish a “homeless death review team” to better understand the contributing factors of homeless deaths—and to prevent them in the future.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said Tuesday that the study is a “call for everybody to get engaged.” She specifically called out the business sector because many homeless residents reside on sidewalks in front of businesses.

“It isn’t just the county’s responsibility,” Solis said. “It’s a human responsibility,”

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LA awards $24.3M for homeless housing at West LA VA campus

October 24, 2019
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A rendering of a park-like open green space with trees and people walking around. A rendering of the revamped campus. | Courtesy of West LA Veterans Collective Work is slated to get underway next year

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve up to $24.3 million in funding to repurpose a building on the Veterans Affairs campus in West Los Angeles for housing for veterans.

That represents about 70 percent of the cost for the project, called Building 207, which will create 59 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless and chronically homeless senior veterans. Work is expected to begin in the summer of 2020, and wrap up by the end of 2021.

Reusing this existing building has been framed as the first piece of a much bigger puzzle at the VA property.

Last year a partnership among Century Housing Corporation, U.S. Vets, and Thomas Safran and Associates was selected to redevelop the 400-acre campus along Wilshire Boulevard with housing for veterans.

The rest of the work is expected to roll out in phases. Right now, the developers are still doing community outreach for the next phases.

The Building 207 project has also received $8.2 million from Measure HHH funds, which go toward building permanent supportive housing for the homeless, and $5.75 million from the county, according to West LA Veterans Collective. It has also been designed to hold community space, a library, a gym, case management offices and landscaped outdoor areas.

The plan to retool the campus emerged after the Department of Veteran’s Affairs settled a lawsuit in 2015 brought by a group of disabled veterans who claimed it was misusing the campus. The veterans cited the long-time practice of leasing large segments of the property for commercial use instead of for housing or services for veterans.

A 2016 blueprint for the future of the campus featured housing, veteran-focused services, and open space.

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LA approves $358.1M for 2,998 affordable apartments

October 16, 2019
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The Thatcher Yard affordable housing development would rise on a former city maintenance yard. The City Council allocated $358.1 million for affordable housing developments, including $11.6 million for Thatcher Yard. | Via Venice Neighborhood Council The total number of Measure HHH-funded units in the pipeline now stands at 8,625

The last remaining Measure HHH money is tapped.

City leaders signed off today on funding commitments totaling up to $358.1 million for 2,998 units of affordable and homeless housing planned across Los Angeles, from the San Fernando Valley to South LA.

“Today’s City Council approval of funding for a new round of Proposition HHH projects is a big step in the right direction—because it means we have quality, lasting supportive housing in the pipeline for every council district. That was the promise we made to voters,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “I am more determined than ever to get them built as quickly as possible.”

So far, the housing has not built fast enough.

Voters in the city of Los Angeles passed Measure HHH—a $1.2 billion bond to subsidize the development of 10,000 units of affordable and permanent supportive housing—three years ago. Only 1,260 units are under construction. Zero units are open.

That’s according to an audit of HHH spending released last week by the city controller, who blamed a number of factors on the slow build-out, including high construction costs and “a lengthy approval process mired in red tape.”

Meanwhile, the homeless population in the city of Los Angeles has ballooned, spiking 16 percent since last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

The total number of HHH-funded units in the pipeline now stands at 8,625. Of those, 6,858 are supportive units, meaning they’ll come with on-site services, which can include treatment for substance abuse and mental health and life skills development and job training.

The funding commitments approved include $120 million for winners of the city’s “Housing Innovation Challenge,” a competition that challenged developers to come up with “unique” and “alternative” ways to build affordable housing more cheaply and quickly.

They also include the first Measure HHH project in the 12th council district, where developer Affirmed Housing Group, Inc. has plans for 64 apartments with on-site services for formerly homeless residents on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Chatsworth. That project is estimated to cost $28.6 million, with $8.3 million coming from Measure HHH.

The plans have drawn protests from some residents, citing concerns about impacts on property values and crime, the Los Angeles Daily News has reported. In a letter to the City Council, opponents said the project would be too big and too close to Chatsworth Park Elementary School.

But the project has supporters too.

Marsha Novak, of the San Fernando Valley-based Interfaith Solidarity Network, told the City Council that opposition to the project is “full of prejudice and myths.” It would be an “embarrassment,” she said, for the 12th district to be the only council district without an HHH project.

In a letter to the council, Chatsworth resident Pilar Schiavo said it’s time that the 12th district “step up to be part of the solution to the [homeless] crisis and also get the tax dollars we approved to create resources for our community.”

The largest projects in this third and final round of HHH funding are planned in the eighth and 11th districts, with 98 units each. In Hyde Park, a mixed-use supportive housing complex for homeless residents would be made out of modular shipping containers. In Venice, apartments for homeless residents would rise on a former city maintenance yard.

The council, however, decided to delay consideration for $15.3 million in HHH funding for two projects in the eighth district, because City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson has said he needs more time to solicit community input on those developments.

The developers of all of the Measure HHH-funded projects are piecing together financing from multiple sources, as the bond dollars are not enough to pay for entire projects.

When the City Council’s homelessness and poverty committee reviewed the full spending plan last month, city officials said it would drain the last remaining Measure HHH money.

On Tuesday, the committee’s chair told the council that he was optimistic that the city would find new funding sources to help developers erect affordable housing and house people “more quickly and more cheaply.”

“I think we’re going to see a lot of successful examples moving forward beyond HHH,” Committee Chair and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said.

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Bridge housing for families opens in old Hollywood mansion

October 15, 2019
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A decadent pink mansion fringed by palm trees sits atop a grassy hillside with a long staircase leading up to it. The pink mansion faces Hollywood Boulevard at the intersection of Camino Palermo. | Courtesy Aviva The building known as Wallis House will house up to 40 young women and their children

A new bridge housing facility that will provide wraparound services to 40 young women and their children opened today in a century-old pink mansion in Hollywood.

Known today as the Wallis House, the Italianate-style former residence facing Hollywood Boulevard will be managed by Aviva Family and Children’s Services, which has provided services and housing for foster youth in the neighborhood for over 100 years.

In its new role, Wallis House will serve women between the ages of 18 and 24, including mothers with young children, who are transitioning out of homelessness. Fifteen families moved in today, with a goal of serving up to 40 families at the 42-bed facility.

“Young single mothers face high barriers to making ends meet, and are at a far greater risk of harm when living on the street,” Councilmember David Ryu said in a statement. “We need housing and services that meet their specific needs.”

Aviva has housed foster girls at Wallis House for 63 years. Earlier this year, the property was redesigned using $2.36 million of Homeless Emergency Assistance Program (HEAP) funds to create facilities for families, including a gym and play area, as well as a boutique and salon where residents can take classes in cosmetology and sewing.

Unlike some of the other Bridge Home projects which are located in temporary structures, Wallis House is being called a “permanent” bridge housing facility, meaning that residents will live there for a maximum of two years before being moved into permanent housing.

According to Aviva, the Hollywood area is home to the greatest number of homeless residents aged 18 to 24 in the county, many of them former foster youth who have aged out of the system.

The facility is a few blocks north of the Gardner Street Women’s Bridge Housing Center, which opened last month in a midcentury building that was formerly used as a library.

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Los Angeles city attorney asks Supreme Court to rule on where homeless can sleep

September 25, 2019
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Homelessness: Los Angeles Wants to Spend $100M on Housing and Services for Homeless People

September 22, 2015
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Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 9.27.14 AM.png
Image via Tom Andrews / Curbed LA flickr pool

LA's seen a startling swell in the numbers of homeless people in just the last two years and is producing just a fifth of the supportive housing it would need to help get some of those people off the streets, so this morning, reports KPCC, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and members of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee want to make it official at a press conference: LA is in a "state of emergency" when it comes to homelessness. They'd also like LA to allot $100 million toward spending to create more space at shelters and housing, as well as other services for the homeless.

LA already spends about $100 million on homelessness, but most of that money is spent on law enforcement, which doesn't actually help people get off the streets. If the councilmembers' plan is approved, the $100 million would be under the control of the housing committee, a rep for Councilman Gil Cedillo (one of the councilmen expected to help announce the state of emergency) told the LA Times. The housing committee would then use the money to build housing and up the capacity that shelters can hold, and the state-of-emergency status would help to expedite any building. Money would start flowing in January.

There is still the small matter of where this $100 million will come from. Councilman Cedillo "did not disclose where the $100 million would come from," and said that he expects the city's budget analysts to figure that part out.

This initiative comes on the heels of a proposal yesterday from Mayor Eric Garcetti that would make $12.6 million available for services like rental subsidies for short-term housing for the homeless and homeless veterans and establishing centers where the homeless can store their things and get services, says KPCC. The money for the Mayor's proposal would come from "projected excess funds."
· L.A. lawmakers to declare 'state of emergency,' commit more than $100 million to fight homelessness [LAT]
· LA leaders to pledge $100 million to fighting homelessness 'emergency' [SCPR]
· A Lot More People Are Homeless in Los Angeles These Days [Curbed LA]
· Los Angeles Producing Just a Fifth of the Homeless Housing it Needs Every Year [Curbed LA]

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