The Los Angeles City Council on Friday approved Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to create a makeshift shelter for the homeless on city-owned property downtown, backing a new approach to get people off the streets.
Trailers will be installed on a parking lot at Arcadia and Alameda streets, near the historic El Pueblo site, and operate for up to three years, housing about 60 residents at a time. Housing placement and mental health services will also be available.
With the proposal, Garcetti is targeting the nearly 200 people who live on the sidewalks and streets near El Pueblo, hoping to get them into then trailers and eventually into permanent housing.
Merchants at El Pueblo’s Olvera Street oppose the location of the shelter, saying it will bring more homeless people to the tourist area and hurt their businesses.
Officials say the trailers would cost about $2 million to build, which includes engineering costs, and $1.3 million to operate annually. If successful, the shelters could be replicated in other locations throughout the city.
City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the El Pueblo area, said after Friday’s vote that “the fact of the matter is that something can be done” to bring relief to the city’s 34,000 homeless people.
“We have to make sure that at the end of the day we don’t have the suffering that we’re seeing on the streets of L.A.,” Huizar said.
Friday’s vote was 11-0, with four members absent.