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Council committee approves Hollywood bridge housing site

LOS ANGELES — A City Council committee approved a motion Sept. 5 that would complete the city’s formal review of a proposed temporary bridge housing facility in Hollywood, and also moved to evaluate a site in Westlake that would serve as an alternative to a proposed Koreatown temporary shelter which sparked protests.

The Hollywood site at 1533 Schrader Blvd. had a construction and development plan approved by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, and City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has said it could become the second temporary housing facility to open in the city as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Bridge Home” program.

Garcetti and the City Council have dedicated $20 million for the Bridge Home program in the current fiscal year, and Garcetti also said tens of millions more could be available now that the state is expected to provide the city with $85 million in budget surplus money for homeless programs. The goal is to have at least one temporary facility in each of the 15 council districts.

The Bridge Home program would install shelters in the form of trailers, large tents or empty buildings with 24-hour security and on-site support workers who would offer services and attempt to transition people into permanent supportive housing or drug treatment programs. The shelters would be designed to generally hold several dozen to 100 people.

The proposed facility in Hollywood would be open for up to three years and temporarily house up to 70 people at a time, and provide them with numerous support services.

The site would include a 7,200-square-foot tent structure, a hygiene trailer, an administrative trailer, an outdoor dining area and storage space.

“We need more immediate solutions to get homeless individuals off the street and into a safe, clean environment,” O’Farrell said last month. “We are moving forward together, and my office has been meeting with stakeholders adjacent to this parking lot, located at 1533 Schrader Blvd. The response has been positive — and the community understands we need to act.”

The city has completed one temporary shelter near the El Pueblo historical monument downtown as part of the effort to open temporary shelters to help control the massive growth of the city’s homeless population, which has spiked in recent years to more than 31,000.

Garcetti and other leaders celebrated its opening Sept. 5, with people expected to star moving in Sept. 10.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is recommending that the proposed Hollywood facility be operated by two service providers with experience in Hollywood: PATH and The Center at Blessed Sacrament.

If approved by the full council, O’Farrell’s office said construction could begin as early as October and be completed in January.

Garcetti’s office said 10 temporary shelter sites are in the development stage, and the Schrader site will join a site in the Hollywood area at 1215 Lodi Place in the active construction phase if the full City Council approves the plan. The Lodi site is a YMCA that could provide 64 beds.

A city-owned Koreatown parking lot at 682 S. Vermont Ave. was the first identified to be part of the Bridge Home program, with Garcetti and City Council President Herb Wesson holding a news conference there on May 2 to officially launch the entire program.

However, following a series of protests and significant backlash in Koreatown, with some residents saying the proposed site was too close to schools and businesses, Wesson said in June he would hold more meetings and consider other sites, and the vote by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee specifically replaced the reports being asked for regarding the Vermont Avenue site to be transferred to a site at Wilshire Boulevard and Hoover Street in Westlake, where a pair of city-owned tennis courts are located.

The reports ask various departments to determine if the property is suitable for development as a crisis and bridge housing facility.

The Westlake site is about a half-mile from the Vermont Avenue parking lot. Vanessa Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Wesson, said the Vermont Avenue site is now being considered for senior affordable housing.

The committee also voted to evaluate sites at 7621 Canoga Ave., 7915 Beverly Blvd., and 1018 Hilgard Ave.

 

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