Why was this facility and location chosen?
The City has been exploring all public property for cabin community locations and other homeless housing opportunities. In addition, team Blumenfield spoke with more than 60 property owners and explored all publicly owned land in the district for homeless housing solutions and will be facilitating the construction of other cabin communities, safe parking, congregate housing, bridge housing at many of these locations. The site was not singled out, but is part of an effort to put homeless solutions throughout the district and throughout the City. The goal is to get people off the streets, back on their feet and to clean up our neighborhoods. By providing shelter such as this, the City will ultimately be empowered and allowed to enforce anti-camping laws again.
The Reseda parking lot was deemed feasible because it is underutilized, it is owned by the City, it is behind the Councilmember’s office so he and his staff can monitor it every day, it is next to a police station, and it is in proximity to a homeless population that would benefit by being brought indoors and offered services.
The Tarzana parking lot was deemed feasible because it is underutilized, it was specifically offered up by METRO for this purpose (they inventoried their lots and offered several throughout the City), the City will not have to pay rent for the land, it is directly across from industrial sites (although near residential), it is bounded on one side by the Orange line, and it is in proximity to a homeless population that would benefit by being brought indoors and offered services.
The Knights of Columbus Site in Canoga Park is still being evaluated and if an appropriate price can be negotiated to lease the site, it might be feasible. It is surrounded by industrial properties (but is close to residential ones), it is fenced in, it already has critical infrastructure such as restrooms and space for service workers, and it is in proximity to a homeless population that would benefit by being brought indoors and offered services.
Who is in charge of running these facilities and/or programs?
An experienced non-profit service provider will run these facilities, just as they have been contracted to run the Project RoomKey facilities and the Recreation and Parks shelters operating throughout the City for the last several months. There will be a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and non-profit service providers will be scored based on their experience and their capacity to meet the requirements of the proposal.
Who will be there? (i.e. women, families, men?)
Admission will be by referral from a case worker, it will not be walk up admission. These shelters will be open to local homeless people in the 3rd district who are willing to accept a bed and follow the site rules. They are not intended to house families with children. The goal is to offer the shelter to those who are living on the sidewalks in close proximity to the shelter. Living in these tiny homes is meant to be a temporary solution for a homeless person. The goal is to get the person back on their feet and help them find permanent housing, a job, and to become more self sufficient.
Are they tested for COVID or any other communicable disease?
Similar to those shelters that have been operating at Recreation and Parks Centers (ie the Woodland Hills Shoup Park Shelter) for the past several months, temperatures would be taken anytime anyone entered or re-entered the facility during the pandemic and COVID tests would be given. Being in separate units in a monitored cabin community is safer than being on the street with others.
What happens if there is an outbreak?
Those who tested positive for the COVID19 virus would be quarantined and other residents would be asked to isolate as well in accordance with County Public Health guidelines.
How are participants vetted?
This would be determined by the site service provider, but we would anticipate the barriers to entry to be relatively low to ensure that help is offered to as many people as possible. This would include connecting all shelter residents to appropriate services, whether for mental health, drug addiction or other issues.
Is it open 24 hours? Curfews?
All shelter residents would be asked to stay inside the facility during quiet hours overnight. They would be free, like anyone else, to leave their homes during the day to run errands, work, attend school, look for employment, etc. Food, laundry facilities, showers, restrooms will all be available onsite.
Who is responsible for any incidents?
The site service provider would manage the facility. There would be onsite security and service workers. LAPD or LAFD would respond if called for an emergency.
Are they allowed to stay no matter what or can they be evicted from this facility?
They could be evicted if they did not comply with shelter rules. Specific cases would fall to the discretion of the site service provider. Illegal drugs are not permitted and could be a cause for eviction at the discretion of the service provider. The goal is to help rehabilitate people and get them to the next phase of their life as quickly as possible.
What if I have concerns about this being so close to me?
Many shelter locations operate throughout the city of Los Angeles next to homes and businesses and, most of the time, there are no issues. Another homeless housing location in the district is already operating in Winnetka across from the DMV and no issues have been reported over the course of five years. Councilmember Blumenfield and staff will do everything in their power to ensure that this is true of the sites opening in the district.
Are they permanent?
“Cabin communities” will be temporary. The shelters themselves are meant to last about 5 years.
What is the next step and timeline for getting people from temporary shelter into permanent housing?
Everyone in these facilities will be working with a caseworker to transition into permanent housing.
What about people who refuse these shelter options? What is the plan for those individuals?
If a district specific global settlement can be reached in the LA Alliance for Human Rights vs Los Angeles case and the district has made available the required number of shelter beds, then people who refuse shelter beds will not be permitted to camp on the neighborhood sidewalks, streets and public right-of ways 3rd district.
Are animals allowed?
Pets will be allowed at these sites.
How can the local community get involved:
District homeless initiatives are implemented under local and State law, in compliance with Judge Carter’s directions, and at the direction of Councilmember Blumenfield, his staff and his homeless Community Action Team (BobCat) comprised of local volunteer leaders. Also, for each of these cabin communities Blumenfield will be creating a Cabin Community Specific working group comprised of local community members. They will provide advise on issues related to that cabin community and will help engage and educate the local community about the project. If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please contact Blumenfield’s office. In addition, once a service provider is chosen, there will likely be volunteer opportunities with that service provider.