Photo by Bryan Chan
Los Angeles, CA—Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan (read revised motion text here) proposed by Supervisor Janice Hahn to use a vacant County building in San Pedro as an emergency homeless shelter for three years.
The shelter will have 40 beds for 20 men and 20 women, 24/7 security, medical staff on-site, mental health services, and housing navigators who will connect residents with long-term housing that meets their needs. The shelter will operate for three years after which construction will begin to transform the site into a proposed mixed-use housing development.
“This is an empty County building and there are people sleeping in tents on the sidewalk outside. It makes sense to turn this building into a shelter for three years, bring people inside, and get them the services they need,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.
The shelter plan has recently gotten the unanimous support of both the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council Homelessness Committee. Members of both organizations attended today’s board meeting to speak in favor of the project.
“When the Supervisor established a plan to tackle the most difficult instances of homelessness in the Harbor Area, our members stood up and got behind it,” said Lee Williams, Chairman of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce. “We know what this won’t be easy, but we are offering our full support in this endeavor.”
The County has awarded the contract to operate the shelter to local service provider Harbor Interfaith. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services will serve as contract administrator.
“This is the correct location and the correct service provider to make this project a success,” said San Pedro resident and longtime advocate Amber Sheikh Ginsburg. “I’ve said before that beds don’t bring people inside, relationships do – that coupled together is what really solves (homelessness). Harbor Interfaith has the best relationships with our homeless individuals on the street and is absolutely the best option to be providing the services for this temporary shelter.”
The vacant site is located at 122 W. 8th street in San Pedro and was previously used by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. There is a large homeless encampment on the sidewalk outside of the building and outreach efforts will focus on bringing the residents of these local encampments into this shelter.
The building is in good condition and needs minimal work before it can be opened to shelter residents. The Board authorized the Department of Public Works to do any necessary repairs, refurbishments, or remodel for an initial $200,000 and any additional work not to exceed $100,000.
The shelter’s operations will be funded using available Measure H funding.