Controller points to 26 city-owned parcels for homeless shelters

Galperin says land could hold 1.7M sf of shelter space

26 city-owned parcels ID’d as potential sites for LA homeless shelters(LA Office of the Controller)
26 city-owned parcels ID’d as potential sites for LA homeless shelters(LA Office of the Controller)

More than two dozen vacant parcels owned by the City of Los Angeles could be used to temporarily house and serve people who are homeless, according to a new report.

Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin identified 26 city-owned lots from Sylmar to San Pedro that could be redeveloped to provide shelter to the growing number of homeless residents, according to Urbanize Los Angeles.

“Homelessness is an existential crisis for Los Angeles, and things have only gotten worse during the pandemic,” said Galperin, a candidate for State Controller, in a statement. “With tens of thousands of people sleeping on the streets nightly, the City must do more to alleviate homelessness by using the properties it owns.”

The Galperin study combed 8,000 city-owned properties to identify those that were big enough, unused or vacant, and could give interim shelter and services to unhoused Angelenos. There were 35,550 people who were homeless in 2019, before the pandemic; in 2020, there were 41,290 residents, including nearly 29,000 living without shelter.

The report targeted 26 parcels larger than 20,000 square feet classified as vacant by the Department of General Services.

Together, the identified parcels have the potential to provide 1.7 million square feet of interim shelter space – from tiny home villages to safe parking lots and sleeping areas, to support facilities with bathrooms, showers and laundry rooms.

Besides the properties identified in the report, Galperin also points to underused public parking lots and land around Los Angeles International Airport as potential areas of opportunity.

The report was launched last year after U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter issued an injunction directing Los Angeles to identify surplus properties to house the homeless living on Skid Row.

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Though the order was struck down on appeal, Galperin said he heeded the request “because of the urgent need to provide unhoused Angelenos with help.”

More study of the habitability of each site would be required prior to its redevelopment.

Among the identified parcels is the 100,000 square-foot site of the demolished Parker Center, the former downtown headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Also on the list is a 400,000 square-foot site in South Los Angeles, a 200,000 square-foot series of parking lots in Lincoln Heights, and a 100,000 square-foot lot in Mission Hills, next to the Interstate 5/118 Freeway interchange.

The report follows two audits by the Controller’s office of Proposition HHH, the $1.2 billion voter-approved bond in 2016 to construct permanent supportive housing for the homeless. Galperin concluded existing bond projects were too expensive and too few, and recommended the city pivot to interim housing and shelters instead.

Galperin earlier this month announced plans to run for State Controller in the statewide primary election in June.

[Urbanize Los Angeles] – Dana Bartholomew

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