los-angeles-council-members-propose-turning-convention-center-into-homeless-shelter

What to Know

  • A plan was proposed to have the downtown Convention Center evaluated to be used as a temporary homeless shelter.
  • The need for a substantial solution to bring individuals inside is crucial as more cold temperatures and rain can be expected in the near future.
  • A portion of the Los Angeles Convention Center has already been transformed into a temporary medical facility to handle an anticipated overflow of recovering COVID-19 patients from local hospitals.

Three Los Angeles City Council members filed a proposal Tuesday to have the downtown Convention Center evaluated to be used as a temporary homeless shelter.

Councilmen Curren Price, Kevin de Leon and Gilbert Cedillo, who introduced the motion, said more cold temperatures and rain can be expected in the near future, and the need for a substantial solution to bring individuals inside is crucial.

“In the midst of the pandemic, we must take bold, dramatic action and do everything possible to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Price, whose district houses the convention center. “At this moment in time, we are being hard-pressed to think outside the box, come up with a variety of solutions and look for ways to use existing resources that are underutilized at a fraction of the cost.”

In April, with the onset of COVID-19, a portion of the Los Angeles Convention Center was transformed into a temporary medical facility to handle an anticipated overflow of recovering COVID-19 patients from local hospitals.

The councilmen said with a 250-bed capacity and the ability to expand operations if necessary, patients would receive care from medical professionals, as well as meals and wrap-around services to ensure they had a place to go before they were released.

“Unhoused Angelenos are now facing the long winter months with virtually no access to a warm place to sleep at night,” de Leon said.

“Responding to this humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions requires us to be nimble and creative, doing everything in our power to move people off the street and indoors.”

The motion instructs the various city factions to study the proposal and come up with recommendations within the next 30 days.

It was not immediately clear which of the council’s committees would initially hear the motion.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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