By T. A. Hendrickson
A motion by CD 14 Councilmember Kevin de León to build small, prefabricated housing units for the homeless in Eagle Rock and Highland Park was approved on Thursday by the City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee.
The motion will likely come before the full City Council in the next week or two, according to a spokesperson for De Leon.
The units, known as “pallet housing,” would be located at 7560 N. Figueroa St. in Eagle Rock, which is the parking lot across from the Eagle Rock Recreation Center near the 134 Freeway ramps, and on an unused section of Arroyo Dr. in Highland Park near S. Avenue 64 and the 110 Freeway.
The pallet communities envisioned for Northeast L.A. would be similar to the 40-unit pallet housing community recently opened in North Hollywood. The shelters are intended as “bridge” housing for people as they transition to permanent housing.
Most of the people who called in to the committee meeting on Thursday to discuss the motion were generally supportive of the idea. But they said that they want the motion amended to ensure that the areas around the pallet communities will not become “sweep zones,” in which city agencies are allowed to disband homeless tent encampments on public property.
The motion supporters also stressed that permanent housing, not temporary shelter, is key to ending homelessness. But they said that many homeless people would be better off in pallet units than in congregate shelters as they await permanent housing.
Two people who called into the meeting opposed the motion saying that resources to house the homeless should be directed to permanent, not temporary, housing.
Nearly 60 public comment letters were filed on the motion. Most of the letters were in favor of the motion, with many of the supporters identifying themselves as people who work on outreach to the homeless in Eagle Rock. Sixteen letters were opposed to the motion; those letter writers generally identified themselves as homeowners, business owners and/or parents in Eagle Rock. You can read the comment letters here. (Click on “Communication(s) from Public” under “Online Documents.”)
Additional motions to address homelessness also advance
At the meeting on Thursday, the Homelessness and Poverty Committee also approved a motion by De León calling on the city to develop metrics to determine the suitability of using hotels and motels for temporary and permanent housing for the homeless. The motion had unanimous support among people who called into the meeting to discuss it.
On Wednesday, the full City Council passed a motion by De León calling on the city to report on the feasibility of using underutilized city-owned property for temporary and permanent housing for the homeless.
De León’s motions are part of “A Way Home,” his broader agenda to address homelessness in L.A.