Los Angeles to Convert City-Owned Properties for Homeless Use

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
March 3, 2022 Updated: March 3, 2022

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles may soon repurpose more than 25 existing city properties into interim housing for the homeless, according to a report initially released on Jan. 12 by the city’s controller.

The Los Angeles City Council voted on March 1 to have the city’s administrative office report back within 30 days on how the city would go about the process of site selection for repurposing these properties. 

Marlton Square in Crenshaw and Lanzit Industrial Park near Watts were among 1.7 million square feet of sites identified by City Controller Ron Galperin that could be used for interim shelters and tiny home villages—and other properties such as Skid Row’s Parker Center, which used to be old police headquarters, are also being considered. 

Vacant city-owned parking lots, he said, could be used to allow people to live in their cars or RVs. 

“The magnitude of the crisis also requires a mix of short-term strategies to help unhoused residents in need and to ensure that public space such as sidewalks, parks, and streets are safe and clean for all residents,” Galperin said in the report.

In previous reports, Galperin has recommended the city look at its underused properties as a way to speed the process of sheltering its increasing homeless population, which was estimated at 40,000 per the last point-in-time count from 2020.  

Doing so, according to Galperin, is necessary because other measures, like Proposition HHH, the $1.2 billion measure to build 10,000 permanent housing units—which voters approved in 2016—have proven too costly and are moving too slowly to stem the crisis. 

“Encampments in the public right-of-way and other spaces have created safety and public health risks for all Angelenos,” Galperin said. “Increasingly, Angelenos are calling for development of interim housing facilities because of the inadequate supply of permanent housing and the lengthy timelines associated with projects developed using bond proceeds from Proposition HHH.” 

Currently, there are 16 Proposition HHH projects being developed on city-owned property, according to the report. 

The 26 sites identified met standards established by the city and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, including that each has a minimum of 20 parking spaces for so-called “safe parking” and be available for at least three years.