Historic LA County General Hospital could be antidote to housing crisis

Supervisor Solis wants to use 1933 Art Deco building for homeless and low-income Angelenos

The L.A. County General Hospital (Photo via the Los Angeles Conservancy) and supervisor Hilda Solis
The L.A. County General Hospital (Photo via the Los Angeles Conservancy) and supervisor Hilda Solis

The historic 1930s era Los Angeles County General Hospital may again serve people in need, but now as affordable housing.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis is pushing to have the county-owned 19-story hospital in Boyle Heights converted as housing for “high-need populations,” including the homeless and low-income tenants, according to Curbed. Solis is presenting a motion that would study if the building could be converted and study potential sources of funding. The motion calls for staff to report back to the Board of Supervisors in the fall of 2019.

The Art Deco building was built in 1933 as the home of the L.A. County + University of Southern California Medical Center — also known as L.A. County General Hospital — with 800 beds. The building spans 1.5 million square feet and could be a boost to local efforts to address the housing crisis in L.A. County.

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Both L.A. County and the City of Los Angeles have taken up a number of programs to help house homeless Angelenos.

The exterior of the hospital appeared in the opening credits of the long-running soap opera General Hospital, making it a nationally known icon. The L.A. County + USC Medical Center moved care operations out of the building a decade ago and parts of the building converted over to office space.

Locally, the hospital building has a mixed legacy. While serving millions of Angelenos over the years, it’s also where hundreds of mostly Latinx women were sterilized, some without truly informed consent, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The county apologized for the sterilizations earlier this year. [Curbed] – Dennis Lynch