LA mulls using Convention Center as temporary homeless shelter

City Council ordered evaluation of massive Downtown complex

Los Angeles /
Jan.January 20, 2021 11:00 AM
Experts warn that the pandemic will bring a surge in evictions and put more people at risk of becoming homeless. (LACC)
Experts warn that the pandemic will bring a surge in evictions and put more people at risk of becoming homeless. (LACC)

The City Council is considering a plan to use the massive Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown as a temporary homeless shelter.

The Council on Tuesday ordered the evaluation with a report due within 30 days, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Councilmembers Curren Price and Kevin De León had introduced the motion in November for the city-owned property.

The report will include an estimate of the number of beds that the convention center could accommodate, an evaluation of potential services, and a financial analysis. The building includes 720,000 square feet of exhibit hall space and another 147,000 square feet of meeting space.

The city outfitted the convention center with 250 hospital beds in April to help with a potential surge in Covid-19 cases, but it was never utilized, according to the report. Other cities across the country employed similar measures with convention centers.

As of last June, there were more than 41,000 people experiencing homelessness in the city of Los Angeles and about 67,000 countywide.

Industry pros have said the pandemic will result in a surge of evictions once the existing ban is eventually lifted, leading to more people out on the street.

In the fall, the City Council approved the acquisition of 10 hotels and motels to be converted to interim housing for the homeless as part of the state’s federally-funded Project Homekey program.

The program was seen as a success and earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed $750 million in the upcoming budget to expand Project Homekey.

[LADN] — Dennis Lynch 


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