The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found nearly 66,436 people experiencing homelessness in the County of Los Angeles, which is a 12.7 percent increase over last year’s point-in-time count and well before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted individuals and families. The effects of the pandemic are far reaching, exacerbating the homelessness crisis and disproportionately affecting communities of color. In response, today the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis to accelerate the development of housing on County-owned property located at 1060 North Vignes St., in the City of Los Angeles.
“Homelessness is the moral and humanitarian crisis of our time, and unfortunately, the COVID-19 economic downturn has heightened the demand for more affordable housing,” said Supervisor Solis. “We need to rapidly build more housing units to provide stable shelter for people experiencing homelessness. My resolve is stronger than ever to help people who need access to affordable housing. It is in line with our commitment to pursue a care first, jail last model of support for our most vulnerable residents.”
In December 2019, the Board voted to explore potential short- and long-term housing options for people experiencing homelessness on this parcel, and COVID-19 and the growing homelessness crisis only increased the urgency to move ahead quickly with this project. In a record time, the project will be completed in just a few months from start to finish. This development will provide housing through prefabricated modular shipping containers to expedite construction.
This downtown Los Angeles property of nearly four acres on Vignes Street is uniquely situated near Union Station, providing quick access to public transit that reaches throughout Southern California. According to the 2020 Homeless Count, there are over 17,000 individuals who are unsheltered in the Service Planning Area that includes downtown Los Angeles.
When the County first acquired the property at 1060 North Vignes St. in 2018, it was originally intended to serve as a staging area as the County prepared to build a new Men’s Central Jail. However, recognizing that prisons cannot be the solution to our housing crisis, Supervisor Solis led the effort to cancel the contract to build a new jail. This action opened up the doors for the Vignes property to be transformed into much needed housing instead. Over time, the site could potentially contain supportive housing as well as bridge or interim housing. The goal is to act with speed and flexibility to allow for different housing needs.
Since April, the County has partnered with the state to launch Project Roomkey to lease 36 hotels with a combined total of nearly 4,000 rooms to house over 4,000 individuals who would be susceptible to hospitalization if exposed to the coronavirus. Now the County is implementing its own COVID-19 Recovery Plan to protect people who are experiencing homelessness, and the Vignes Housing Project will play a key role in this endeavor.
The Vignes Housing Project will include: approximately 232 units on nearly 60,500 square feet; a 6,000-square-foot modular resource building that will house a kitchen, dining, and administrative spaces for a shelter provider; a small parking area for staff and overflow parking for residents. Landscaped courtyards and other amenities for outdoor activities will also be provided. The estimated project cost is $48 million, with $42 coming from the federal Cares Act Coronavirus relief funding and $6 million from Supervisor Solis’ First District Interim Housing Pool funds.
A shelter service provider will offer residents on-site wraparound services to help them with permanent housing and gainful employment opportunities. This facility will provide vulnerable County residents much needed shelter during the COVID-19 crisis and access to resources that will help them break the cycle of homelessness and put them on a path toward healing and hope.
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