Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin urged officials Wednesday to take advantage of empty, city-owned land to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness, adding that he’s identified 26 city properties that could be used to house thousands of people.
“It is clear that more must be done right away to address the unparalleled tragedy on our streets,” said Galperin. “People across Los Angeles are suffering and dying because they lack shelter night after night, with people of color impacted disproportionately. We need more housing solutions now. Using vacant, publicly owned properties would bring thousands of people off the streets, and help them get access to health, mental health and other critical services they so badly need.”
Galperin spoke alongside Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission Founder Ken Craft and SoLa Impact Vice President of Development Ekta Naik from an empty lot in the Green Meadows area of South Los Angeles. The property is the largest one identified by the controller as being suitable for housing.
“When I look at a piece of property like this and the others that Controller Galperin has identified, I see the potential for us to truly impact Los Angeles, while we continue to build permanent supportive housing,” Craft said. “The streets cannot be the waiting room. We must bring people in and do all we can to provide dignity, respect and humanity for those in Los Angeles.”
Galperin released the list of locations in January. Among them are:
— 394,000 square feet at 10901 S. Clovis Ave. in the Green Meadows area of South L.A.;
— 121,000 square feet at 5975 S. Western Ave. in the Chesterfield Square area of South LA; and
— 96,000 square feet at 12568 N. San Fernando Road in Sylmar.
The 26 locations were selected with criteria that included examining their size and current use.
Galperin found that the city uses only a small portion of its land to address the homelessness crisis, and the 26 properties he identified would provide an additional 1.7 million square feet of space for interim housing. The locations could support tiny home villages, safe parking and safe camping areas as well as support facilities such as rest rooms, showers and laundry centers, Galperin said.
The region’s most recent homeless count data is from 2020 and found that the city had 41,290 people experiencing homelessness. The 2021 count was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2022 count took place earlier this year, with results expected in June.
“Los Angeles, like most cities in California, faces a dual crisis: homelessness and affordable housing, which are arguably the most critical issues facing the largest and most dynamic economy in the U.S.,” Naik said. “We need all the help that we can get. We need partners, advocates, ambassadors, politicians and various city departments to all come together to bring much-needed, quality affordable housing as fast as humanly possible by slashing the red tape.”
People can look at a map of the properties at lacontroller.org/audits-and-reports/city-owned-properties.