Temporary homeless shelter planned for Fashion District warehouse

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Los Angeles city and county officials are moving forward with plans to open a second temporary homeless shelter in Downtown LA as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s A Bridge Home program.

City Councilmember Jose Huizar introduced a motion on Wednesday calling for the city to lease part of a privately owned warehouse in the southern Fashion District in order to convert the site into a shelter with 115 beds.

According to a statement from Huizar, if the City Council approves the lease agreement, the shelter could open within the next three months.

Garcetti launched the shelter program last year, proposing to build at least one short-term housing center in each of the city’s 15 council districts. So far, only one of those shelters has opened—a 45-bed facility near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument—but a privately funded shelter is up and running in Hollywood, and another shelter in that neighborhood is scheduled to open in the coming month.

Most of the shelters proposed under the program so far would be located on publicly owned land, but in this case, the owner of the warehouse property offered up a portion of the property for housing, allowing the city to save on construction costs.

The city would pay the property owner roughly $37,000 per month for a three-year lease, while the county would cover the cost of on-site services like case management and counseling for residents.

Garcetti initially suggested that each of the shelters would cost about $1.3 million each, but so far that price estimate has been short. The El Pueblo shelter cost more than $2 million, and a 100-bed shelter planned at the Westside Veterans Affairs campus has a price tag of $5 million.

Last year, the City Council agreed to spend up to $30 million on the shelters, with an additional $45 million available through state funds to combat homelessness.

On Wednesday, the council voted to study more than a dozen sites that could also be used for bridge housing or other facilities aimed at serving the more than 20,000 residents living without shelter in the city of Los Angeles.

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