Construction has begun on a new Union Station, the only soup kitchen and shelter for the poor and homeless in the county east of downtown Los Angeles.
Spokesmen said that when it is completed in about a year it will provide about 40 beds and will feed up to 225 people a day, as well as provide showers, laundry facilities and social services.
The site, at 412 S. Raymond Ave., will replace the existing Union Station at Walnut Street and Euclid Avenue, which was originally rented in 1980 to serve as a temporary soup kitchen. Its director, Bill Doulos, said the small building has long been inadequate for the increasing numbers of poor and homeless. It serves breakfast and lunch six days a week and lunch only on Sundays, and provides 20 beds in a nearby church.
Construction began last week, 18 months after Union Station began preparing its contract with the city, which will administer a $275,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. An additional $486,500 has been given in state grants and by area churches, individuals and foundations. Doulos said an additional $350,000 is needed to cover inflation, additional expenses and building costs, which are more than $200,000 over the facility's original estimate.
The new Union Station has been controversial from the time it was first proposed in 1984 until it won its final court battle 18 months ago. Several neighboring business owners had opposed it, claiming that the city of Pasadena had violated environmental regulations in 1985 when it approved Union Station's move to an industrial zone.