Taking a step forward in the City's fight to end homelessness, Mayor Garcetti officially opened the first "A Bridge Home" temporary bridge housing site this week. Located near the El Pueblo Historical Monument in downtown Los Angeles, the housing is the first of a series of projects planned for construction across the city to bring homeless people off the streets and into housing. Potential bridge housing sites across the city are being explored by every member of the City Council.
The bridge housing sites will offer immediate beds, showers, mental health and addiction services, restrooms, storage facilities, and pet accommodations, as well as around-the-clock, on-site care for Angelenos who are sleeping on the street now and awaiting supportive housing or other long-term care. The initiative is a critical piece of the overall effort to build a comprehensive system that will bring all homeless Angelenos indoors.
The El Pueblo site will be occupied by people from existing, high-density encampments in the immediate surrounding area. Homeless individuals who will live there were identified through outreach efforts by specialized teams who walked the streets of the neighborhood every day for three months -- to identify homeless Angelenos already living in the community, and prepare them to move into the bridge housing.
The site at El Pueblo is run by a social services agency and furnished with on-site mental healthcare, substance abuse support, connections to permanent housing, career services, and 24/7 security, and staffed by case managers. Like all bridge housing sites to come, this site will stand for three years -- enough time for the city to build permanent supportive housing for the Angelenos living in it.
As the first residents move into their new housing, LA Sanitation teams will make preparations to restore spaces previously occupied by encampments nearby into clean and accessible public passageways. This is the same series of events that will happen at bridge housing sites in each Council District over the course of the next year: homeless people on the street will gain access to new housing and services, and city crews will, in turn, increase clean ups in the area to reclaim neighborhood streets, sidewalks and parks.
Potential Bridge Housing Sites in CD2
In Council District 2, I have instructed city staff to look at two city-owned properties to see if they can potentially accommodate bridge housing for the homeless. The properties are located in North Hollywood and Van Nuys, the neighborhoods with the district's highest concentration of homeless individuals living in them.
I started the selection process with a larger list of potential sites in May, but many of them have proven to be unsuitable for bridge housing due to their small size, steep grading, or the existence of permanent structures on the lots. Once city staff comes back with a report on the remaining two properties, I will share the findings with nearby residents and seek additional input before moving forward with any bridge housing proposal. In the meantime, I will continue to search for more potential bridge housing and permanent supportive housing sites in Council District 2 that can help alleviate the homelessness crisis in the San Fernando Valley.
If you have any ideas about other city or privately-owned properties that could be put to use to help resolve homelessness, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.