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O’Farrell proposes site for homeless ‘bridge housing’

LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion Aug. 28 that completes the city’s formal review of a proposed temporary bridge housing facility in Hollywood, which aims to be the second temporary housing facility built in the city as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “A Bridge Home” program.

The proposed facility, which must be approved by the City Council, would temporarily house up to 70 people at a time; provide supportive services such as case management, mental health services, alcohol and drug addiction programs, and employment counseling; include round-the-clock security; and would be operational for up to three years.

“We need more immediate solutions to get homeless individuals off the street and into a safe, clean environment,” O’Farrell said. “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.”

“This crisis demands bold steps to get people off the streets and into housing as quickly as possible,” Garcetti said. “Councilmember O’Farrell’s leadership will deliver results for the men and women living on the streets of Hollywood today, who will soon be able to take their tents down and build themselves up. Our city will be safer, cleaner, and more just because of it.”

More than three-quarters of Angelenos voted in favor of Measure HHH in 2016 to provide funding to construct up to 10,000 units of housing for those experiencing homelessness, and went even further and approved Measure H in 2017 to provide funding for on-site services for the permanent housing and shelters. In addition, the mayor and City Council approved $20 million in the city’s budget to provide funds for the emergency temporary housing program, plus an additional $10 million dollars for supplemental homeless services.

“This program will transform our ability to address and manage the homelessness crisis in Hollywood,” said Kerry Morrison, executive director of the Hollywood Business Improvement District. “The partnership with the city of Los Angeles, People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), and Hollywood’s The Center at Blessed Sacrament will create a safe space for the entire community. We have more work to do, but this is a fantastic start and badly needed.”

“Hollywood has been without this type of facility since 2016, forcing those seeking a bed or temporary housing to be referred downtown and neighboring areas,” said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “A better option must be made available within our own community, and [this property] presents the city with a viable solution to this pressing issue. We are proud to support the proposed development of a temporary bridge housing facility on the Schrader lot and are eager to see the City Council move forward with this desperately needed facility as soon as possible.”

“Bridge housing is part of an integrated solution that will have an almost immediate ripple effect on managing the homeless crisis in our area,” said Ferris Wehbe, longtime community leader, business owner, and Hollywood resident.

Contingent on council approval, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is recommending that the proposed facility be operated by two seasoned service providers with roots in Hollywood: PATH and The Center at Blessed Sacrament.

“Establishing this type of facility and program in Hollywood is the right thing to do,” said Yolanda Brown, parish director at Blessed Sacrament. “We must continue to find ways to offer assistance and hope to those who want and deserve our help. This bridge housing facility will go a long way in those efforts.”

The motion will next be heard in the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, and then to Budget and Finance Committee, prior to being considered by the full City Council. If approved by the council, construction could begin as early as October and completed in January, with the facility opening shortly thereafter.

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