This lot on N. Figueroa St. in Eagle Rock would be used for prefab shelter units for the homeless under a motion approved on Thursday by the City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee. | Photo by T. A. Hendrickson/

Motion to build prefab housing units for the homeless in NELA clears key committee in City Council

2021 Editions March More News

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. 

Pallet housing units for the homeless, like these in North Hollywood, are 8′ x 8′ or 10′ x 10′. | Photo in, courtesy of Fonda Rosing/Hope of the Valley

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.

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T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel, and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.

T.A. Hendrickson
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel, and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.

25 thoughts on “Motion to build prefab housing units for the homeless in NELA clears key committee in City Council

  1. So the pallet housing at the Figueroa Street lot will be a reality, and they added a provision that there must be no “sweeps” of tents in the surrounding area. So that whole stretch of Figueroa St will be a hybrid homeless community. No mention of any kind of maintenance, structure, expectations, or support for the homeless residents.

    1. They ended the sweeps because they weren’t just clean-ups – they took away everything- people’s tents, food, clothes, personal belongings and provided zero services or alternate housing.
      At long last, here is something that will be a start to changing lives. You can read all about these communities popping up all over the states. Of course, there will be maintenance and structure and mental health support, and rules and qualifications to be considered. It’s not going to be “Here’s the homes, c’mon in and fend for yourselves”

  2. There is no time frame, or any date mentioned for the development and construction of this housing.

  3. that is not a good idea.. that parking lot has criminals and gang members.
    You should move these homeless people to real shelters.
    And keep that parking lot available for parking and events where you can generate money for the city.

    1. That parking lot has “criminals and gang members”. Please provide a list of the people there and their rap sheets.
      This program is a GREAT idea. People will have to apply to live there and follow rules to stay. All kinds of assistance will be provided. How can someone prefer letting people live on the streets with no support to this kind of new program???

    2. Exactly!! People don’t realize that these homeless are not unhoused families who have lost their job or suffer from mental illness! They are criminals, young lazy people who don’t want rules and just want to get high, day and night. Only the residents and neighborhood will suffer from this. At the council meeting we were told this would be ” temporary” and now they are calling it permanent housing. Please not in Eagle Rock. The parking lot should be used for parking cars; where will we park for future Concert In the Parks, 4th of July, etc…..?

    3. They are human beings. Screw money for the city.

      A homeless veteran outreach agent found me after being on the street homeless for a year *I’ve been in and out of shelters for years unable to remain stable enough to secure housing.
      He got me up and got me into a hotel. It allowed me to ground myself and focus without just living moment to moment.

      He saved my life, I almost just gave up on any hope for a better future.

      I live in Highland Park now. I could be anyone you deem “civil” because they are indoors…you wouldn’t know.
      Had no one gave a sh** and worried about city finances over human life…I’d still be out there, possibly dead.

      Thanks for your concern. Remember, in this COVID apocalypse were all losing…could be you next, you’ll wish they had a safe organized place for you where you don’t have to play Hunger Games in real life.

  4. Will there be any screening for sex offenders? Will drug use be allowed. Will there be special services for the mentally ill ? Are they just dropping a huge amount of potentially dangerous individual’s in our community that’s filled with family’s and and abundant amount of children.

  5. Yes I agree! There are other Vacant lots around why wreak Eagle Rock
    And they will not abide by the rules

    1. Without mental health services and mandatory drug addiction counseling and sobriety mandatory for tenancy. This will be a huge bed of crime and bring a ton of criminal activity. We are already having these problems with the existing homeless population, now multiply that by 100 will it be safe to even walk in Eagle Rock anymore could we even allow children to walk to school? The tenants of this “Palette Community” will be wandering all over Eagle Rock all day long everyday what do you think will happen, how safe will our Eagle Rock neighborhood be after that.

      1. Michelle – why do you think there will not be therapy, and drug counseling, and rules, and an application process? Why do you think they will be “wandering all over Eagle Rock” all day? Do you feel that they should not have the right to be out on the streets of their neighborhoods? Do you think that only homeless people are the ones committing crimes in Eagle Rock when there are a lot of criminals and drug addicts and alcoholics and mentally ill people who live here IN HOUSES?? How is finally housing and providing services for some of the homeless people who live here going to “multiply the problem” by 100% Would you prefer concentration camps somewhere in the desert?

  6. This could help, and it’s mighty good that action is being taken.

    Over the past months a homeless camp developed next to my dojo, taking over the grounds and steps of the church opposite City Hall. One couple lived in the doorway for over two years. When I’d talk with them it was clear that they were trying, and they hoped to move on. Carlos would sweep the sidewalk and try to keep clean (Marianne would mostly sleep). They tried. Not all of the encampment tried, and several clearly no longer had the capacity to control themselves. When the fence went up Carlos and Marianne moved on (perhaps finally settled into a Section 8 housing), but the remaining folks who camped out on in front of the gate, covering the sidewalk and bus stop, were the folks with the least hope and the least control. Some would start chugging down the bourbon by 8 AM, some would sleep all day, some would pee all over the walks and sidewalk, or leave cups of pee on the curb. Sometimes they’d just lose it completely and start yelling and screaming. Not always at passerby, sometimes just into the air. I would go out whenever I heard them yelling and remind them that they can’t yell at people. They would usually be much abashed, say they were yelling at their stuff, or at someone who wasn’t there, or just because they couldn’t help it. And that was the point – they couldn’t help it, they were just plain heartbroken and angry and hurt and the drinks and drugs didn’t really help them cope. But still, they’d try to keep their stuff together and out of the way, they’d sometimes clean up their area. They wanted respect.

    This new parking lot camp could be a useful way-station. And if they’d had such an option last month I would have been right glad to tell them to move there. Being able to sweep the surrounding streets, get these folks into temporary housing, would be a help. It can be done with respect, it can be done with care, and it would help these folks. I’ve seen dozens of encounters with the police here in front of the church and they were all respectful and professional. The police have been given simply no tools to help out – to help residents and to help homeless. I would be in favor of professionally done sweep zones that require the homeless to do their part, to take what steps they can, to make the effort. And for those who cannot, those who have very much simply lost their minds, they need other help.

    Just this minute a guy was pushing his cart down Colorado, screaming, and I went out to tell him that he couldn’t be yelling like that, and he agreed, we had a chat, I told him I didn’t have any money, he blessed me and moved on, just pushing his cart. Maybe the new prefab temporary housing wouldn’t help him (Mike), but maybe it would. We must do something. We must start trying.

    1. Mark,
      I agree whole heartily! Something has to be done.

    2. I agree with all you saying people need help, but they won’t receive it in these housings they’re not providing any mental health or drug addiction counseling nor are there requirements of sobriety for housing.
      Your a man and trained in martial arts you feel confident to step out and talk to them clearly you’re not afraid but what about a woman an elderly person or a child. Mark how will they be treated by these men. I know another man who asked one them to stop urinating in front of a woman and her child and one of those same homeless man accosted him yelled and threw rocks at him. You also didn’t mention that they were smoking meth out of glass pipes right there on the side walk blatantly in the middle of the day and walking around dazed and high and screaming. I know for a fact one of them is a heroin attic he actually had to be taken to the hospital because his arm was infected. The way you described these homeless men sounds almost like they are harmless but they’re not they are unpredictable and dangerous and under the influence most if not all the time. Services where offered them on numerous occasions and they declined everyone, so legally they are allowed to stay on the streets. They haven’t left and are still doing the same things they just down at 7-11 now.

      We are already having safely, and health issues with the existing homeless, population here in Eagle Rock what’s going to happen when that’s multiplied buy 100 with no drug or mental services being provided to them. A population of hundreds of unstable addicted and mentally ill people will be brought into Eagle Rock. No screening process for criminal records, for assault, sex offenses, child molesters, so far the only prerequisite to be put in Eagle Rock is homelessness.
      What about when they don’t wanna follow the rules well they end up perhaps just walking to the corner and be right back out on our streets. This is not curing our homeless dilemma, its just packaging them and moving them out of one aria and cramming them into another. Its bringing a huge homeless population and dropping them right in Eagle Rock.

    3. I know these folks, too, and I was sorry to see Carlos and Marianne loose their safe place because of the actions of others. I know this proposed tiny homes set up could help many of our vulnerable homeless that desire to make a better life for themselves and just need some help.

  7. De’Leon has a plan that doesn’t involve the community. What did you expect?! Remember the bike lines? It was decided before the public input. He believes he knows better then you, especially since he doesn’t live close by, has a business or kids he has to worry about, & his ambition is to be mayor using CD14 as a spring board. I feel sorry for my neighbors & my beloved Eagle Rock. Remember this post.

  8. You guys are amazing. You want something done but you never like what’s being done. You complain about the filth and disease but the minute there is a plan to deal with the filth and disease, you don’t want that particular thing to happen. If you guys know so much how about you present a game plan and do something?
    It’s not easy and it’s complicated and you can’t make a sweeping generalization about anyone or anything.
    It’s a good idea verses people rotting in the street. When you think up a better one, I’d be glad to hear it.

    1. As of 3:20 pm on 3/3/21, only eight public comments appeared on the city clerk’s website about this “file” (item). If you have an opinion, submit it and then verify your email address by clicking the link they’ll send you.

  9. The resident’s, parent’s, and business’ owners opinions should count as much as the opinion of the outreach/volunteer workers, but only the latter group hears from the City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee. Many resident’s of ER still don’t know this motion is in place because “Public Notices” are not available, which they should be! The homeless people need housing but this is the wrong location for this. There is a park, schools, businesses, such as The Morales Family Day Care within ~500 ft. of this parking lot. Judge O. Carters ruling is being completely ignored, as this particular location is wrapped on 3 sides by a freeway offramp, and on one side by a busy boulevard. There are about 15 unhoused at the parking lot; for a year now we have seen an increase in crime activities, such as drug use, theft, car break ins, graffiti, etc. What will our neighborhood be like if that number increases to 70+. This will not be a “dry” site, drug testing will not be enforced but the homeless people at this location are drug users/ dealers. Our children will not be safe in this environment because our families will not be protected from harm. It is easy for people to say, “yes, I approve this motion, build it” because you don’t live in such close proximity of this location. Put yourself in our shoes.

    Thanks John!
    Please leave a public comment for the city council via this link:

  10. Have we tried to rent every room at the Welcome Inn, the Comfort Inn and the Best Western for several months or is the only solution to build housing and give our tax money to constructions crews?
    Federal money can be used to pay for the rooms. Showers are included in the room fee. Homeless services and security could be on site 24 hours. (Pay our local restaurants to prepare meals for them) With the rooms, you can direct people that are interested in getting off the streets to go there, where they can start the transitioning process and hopefully get permanent housing. Those that do not take the offer, can be identify as a transients. I am not against pallet housing, I am more against wasting our resources on construction. If we offered all 3 motels and they filled up, then I would be supportive of the pallet homes but if the motel rooms sit vacant, then building pallet homes would not be justified. Motel rooms can be rented out basically asap , while pallet homes will take months to build. This would be a good short measure to we can gauge our long term planning. If I was in Council, this is what I would do first.

    1. Ken, this sounds like a possible, simple start. Given the fact that many of the homeless spend much of their days drinking, tweaking and screaming at their phantoms it would likely mean that the motels could not be used for any other travelers, but then right now state regulations have put the kibosh on most interstate travel anyhow. Maybe this could be an option for those who are simply homeless. It could force us to make the distinction and begin to deal with the convergent but separate issues of homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness.

  11. Most of the local residents haven’t been notified about this project. I live in the area and didn’t find out about this until a few days ago when a flyer was dropped off. It was printed by a private citizen. The people who will be negatively affected by the increase in the homeless population in the area haven’t been given a fair chance to make comments about this. Residents have the right to feel safe in their neighborhoods.

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