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City’s Skid Row Shelter Will Set Up on New Site

Times Staff Writer

The city’s temporary shelter for the homeless on Skid Row got an extended lease on life Thursday when Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley announced that the shelter will be moved and set up at another downtown location.

The San Julian Center, at 5th and San Julian streets in the heart of Skid Row, will be disassembled and moved to a vacant lot at 6th and San Pedro streets, Bradley said at a press conference.

When the move begins Monday, those temporarily displaced will be able to stay at the Weingart Center, a private facility. The relocated center will remain at its new site “for at least a year,” Bradley said.

The 138-bed facility, built by volunteer union workers in January, was the first shelter built under city auspices after federal officials said last year that Los Angeles leads the nation in the number of homeless. The total number is unknown, but Los Angeles County is estimated to have approximately 30,000 people without shelter.

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The 19,000-square-foot center will be moved to a site owned by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. The center will continue to be operated by the Skid Row Development Corp., a private, nonprofit arm of the redevelopment agency. Under state law, the agency can use tax funds for low- and moderate-income housing.

Once it is rebuilt, the center’s operating costs will be paid through a $1.4-million homeless fund established by the redevelopment agency in April.

Moving the shelter two blocks southeast is part of an overall effort by city officials to gradually move centers that serve the homeless farther away from the central business district.

As the number of homeless has grown, they have scattered throughout downtown, putting a damper on the city’s hopes for redeveloping office and residential sites on Spring and Main streets.

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In a related matter, Bradley said he plans to stay overnight Thursday in a new condominium development on Spring Street. Bradley planned the overnight stay as a demonstration that “living downtown is not only affordable but safe and comfortable,” according to a spokeswoman.


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