Council OKs Toilets for the Homeless

The homeless will be able to use restrooms at the Weingart Center and the Russ Hotel under a two-month test program approved Tuesday by the City Council.

The Weingart Center, a social service agency and shelter at 6th and San Pedro streets, will provide six to eight toilets around the clock for the homeless. The Russ Hotel, a single-room occupancy building at 5th and San Julian streets, will provide its two lobby restrooms throughout the night, when the facilities at San Julian Park next door are closed.

The council approved the allocation of $16,200 to the Russ Hotel and $10,000 to Weingart to pay for maintenance and security of the restrooms, which are indoors and wheelchair-accessible. The program went into effect immediately after the council's decision.

The proposal was developed by Councilwoman Rita Walters in conjunction with Mayor Tom Bradley's office, the Housing Preservation Production Department, the Community Redevelopment Agency, the Department of Public Works, the Weingart Center and the SRO Housing Corp.

In response to some criticisms of her proposal, Walters' spokesman, Howard Gantman, said the Weingart and Russ Hotel restrooms will not "solve the homeless problem in the area." But the pilot project will allow authorities to study one possible solution, Gantman said.

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