Report says no to homeless shelters in major LA parks

Los Angeles shouldn’t have plans for overnight camping or other homeless facilities in Westchester Park, Mar Vista Park, and a parking lot next to Will Rogers State Beach, city policy analysts said Tuesday.

In a four-page report, city council official Matt Szabo said six locations listed by Councilor Mike Bonin as potential homeless shelter locations were too expensive or otherwise unsuitable – and should be ignored.

The results could help Bonin quell an uproar in parts of his district stretching north from Los Angeles International Airport to Pacific Palisades. Several neighborhood groups had spoken out against Bonin’s decision to consider Will Rogers and other recreational areas as possible locations for temporary accommodation.

In his report, Szabo concluded that one parking lot in Will Rogers and another on Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey did not have adequate access to sewers, hydrants, and electricity to allow 24/7 living. He also reported that Westchester Park and Mar Vista Park are already heavily used, attracting thousands of children, and raising $ 500,000 a year for the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Szabo recommended that the city run outreach programs to bring home homeless people who live in these parks.

Szabo also advised against building a temporary homeless shelter in the municipal building in the city of West Los Angeles because the location was too small. And he defied the idea of ​​staying on a site near Beethoven Street in the Del Rey neighborhood, saying the location would require extensive sorting and soil removal.

Bonin said in an email to his constituents that he had asked the city’s political analysts to investigate these locations as the city was facing an “urgent and growing” homelessness crisis – and wanted to make sure he “left no stone unturned.” others “left. He said he would not pursue the six sites that Szabo identified as impracticable.

“One of my key takeaways from this report is that it highlights the drawbacks of shelters and supports the argument that we need real housing with appropriate services,” he said in the email.

In his report, Szabo urged officials to further evaluate some of Bonin’s proposed locations – an RV parking lot next to Dockweiler State Beach, a parking lot near a boat ramp in Marina del Rey, and property owned by Los Angeles International Airport.

The LAX site would be checked for possible tiny homes, overnight camping, or “safe” parking spaces. Szabo warned that any use of the LAX property would require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Marina del Rey site would be explored as a possible location for tiny houses or overnight camping, while the RV site would be considered for overnight parking. In addition, Culver City officials are working on developing a homeless shelter on property on the west side of Los Angeles that is owned by Culver City, Szabo said.

Bonin said he would urge the city to continue exploring these four locations while pushing for other options, including buying motels and building long-term serviced apartments faster.

The report comes about a month after Bonin critics began collecting signatures for a possible dismissal of the city council, saying they were dissatisfied with his handling of homelessness and other issues. Bonin is standing for re-election separately in the June 2022 elections.

The Venetian lawyer Traci Park, who recently launched a campaign against Bonin, called Szabo’s report a waste of time and money.

“The community and other city authorities could certainly have told Mr. Bonin from the start that the parks were in fact not under-used and that these beach locations were not suitable or appropriate at all,” she said.

Park said she remains concerned about the idea of ​​converting Dockweiler RV and Marina del Rey parking lots into homeless facilities. Such a move, she said, would restrict access to coastal and recreational areas.

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