Los Angeles

Questions Raised About Temporary Housing Shelters

As plans are in motion to set up temporary homeless shelter sites in every council district in Los Angeles, the NBC4 I-Team wanted to know just how this happens and how communities are finding out.

A recent state law allows cities to build homeless shelters on land owned or leased by the city and cities can "fast track" health and safety checks to get these shelters up quickly, bypassing zoning changes which can take a long time. But notifying the public is not a requirement if or when a shelter is set up at a location, according to the City Administrative Officer, which is overseeing the reviews. A proposed shelter site in Koreatown has become the epicenter of controversy about this process.

Once a site is checked and either approved or not, a report or response of some sort is made public. Some of the options for sites are near where homeless people gather like North Hollywood park or empty city parking lots. Some Councilmen like Paul Krekorian, who recently put forth a motion to look at five locations in his district for shelters, are notifying their communities even if it's not a requirement.

"As those locations become more defined, then we will engage our community members through social media and other ways to ensure that we have solutions that help the homeless but also protect our neighborhood as well," Krekorian said.

Providing safety and security at sites are among the costs associated with these temporary shelters, and also part of the review. Not all places will be used for housing. Some could be "navigation centers," where people store belongings. Everything is checked, from sewer lines, to land grading of property and even if there is an area for pets. This is happening as the city and county are looking to create more permanent housing for the homeless, using tax dollars following two recently passed measures.

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