New homeless shelters will open next month near the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Garcetti has committed at least $20 million for these temporary trailer shelters that will pop up across downtown as the first step to finding the homeless more permanent housing.
Garcetti has said the shelters, which will be put in each of the city's 15 council districts, could serve at least 6,000 people a year.
$1.3 million is the budget for construction of each of the 15 shelters however, the El Pueblo shelter's cost has exceeded that original budget and will cost $2.7 million to construct.
The shelter, which sits on a city-owned parking lot near the 101, was supposed to open in June but officials decided the trailers needed to be connected by a deck that cost them an extra $700,000 to build. According to officials, the deck “creates a welcoming, appealing community space” for the residents to use during the day.
“This is a new thing entirely,” said Matt Szabo, Garcetti’s deputy chief of staff. “This isn’t a standard shelter. We’re creating spaces designed to be as safe and comfortable as possible.”
Those who are selected to live at El Pueblo will be allowed to keep their pets with them and they do not have to be sober to enter the shelter, but the residents staying on site can't use drugs or alcohol near or on the property.
An array of services will be offered in the three trailers that will house 30 men and 15 women. The trailers will offer showers, bathrooms, laundry, office space, and consultation services.
In response to the criticism of the shelters Garcetti said,
“My question I usually ask is, OK, if we don’t build this, where do you want people to go to the bathroom? Because right now it's happening on the street in front of your business. And you think that’s good for property values?”
The shelters are the first step of Mayor Garcetti's goal of ending street homelessness by 2028.
Photo: Getty Images