Los Angeles convention center may be turned into homeless shelter 

Empty Los Angeles Convention Center with a 10,000 capacity could be converted into a homeless shelter in a bid to tackle the surging number of residents living on the streets

  • The Los Angeles convention center may be converted into a homeless shelter
  • Councilman Curren D. Price Jr of the city’s 9th District introduced the motion to use the empty center for the homeless as colder temperatures and rain come in
  • City officials now have 30 days to determine if the plan is feasible and how many beds can fit in the massive building, which has a capacity of 10,000 people
  • The COVID-crisis has only exacerbated the city’s homelessness crisis with an estimated 40,000 homeless people currently on the streets of Los Angeles
  • In April the center was turned into a hospital overflow area and 250 beds were set up and in May the National Guard slept there during civil unrest in the area 

The empty Los Angeles convention center may be converted into a homeless shelter following a new proposal this week, as the city reels from a ‘panic situation’ with its growing vagrant population amid the pandemic.

The proposal requests the city assess the center to determine how many potential beds it can accommodate and any funding requirements within the next 30 days.

The massive center, which has a capacity of 10,000 people, has been empty and unused amid the coronavirus pandemic as large events have been canceled or moved online.

Councilman Curren D. Price Jr introduced the motion to house the city’s needy as cold temperatures and more rain arrives to the region.

‘We’re in a panic situation along with a pandemic situation. Folks on the streets are just suffering. Getting people off the street is important,’ Price said.

The COVID-crisis has only exacerbated the city’s homelessness crisis with an estimated 40,000 homeless people currently on the streets of Los Angeles.

The empty Los Angeles convention center may be converted into a homeless shelter following a new proposal this week, as the city reels from a 'panic situation' with its growing vagrant population amid the pandemic. The center can hold up to 10,000 and the proposal asks the city to assess the venue to determine how many beds it can hold to serve the homeless within the next 30 days

The empty Los Angeles convention center may be converted into a homeless shelter following a new proposal this week, as the city reels from a ‘panic situation’ with its growing vagrant population amid the pandemic. The center can hold up to 10,000 and the proposal asks the city to assess the venue to determine how many beds it can hold to serve the homeless within the next 30 days

The COVID-crisis has only exacerbated the city¿s homelessness crisis with an estimated 40,000 homeless people currently on the streets of Los Angeles. A view of a homeless encampment under the 101 Freeway during the pandemic in May above

The COVID-crisis has only exacerbated the city’s homelessness crisis with an estimated 40,000 homeless people currently on the streets of Los Angeles. A view of a homeless encampment under the 101 Freeway during the pandemic in May above

In April this year the convention center was turned into a temporary medical facility meant to help with hospital overflow during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, and 250 beds were set up, with the ability to expand operations if necessary. In the end the field hospital was never used as local hospitals contained the crisis

In April this year the convention center was turned into a temporary medical facility meant to help with hospital overflow during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, and 250 beds were set up, with the ability to expand operations if necessary. In the end the field hospital was never used as local hospitals contained the crisis

That’s an increase of 16.1 percent compared to last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Of those, 28,852 individuals are without shelter, officials said. 

The move comes as council members are under pressure from US District Judge David O. Carter to shelter homeless people in their districts. He’s overseeing a lawsuit that alleges the city and county have not done enough to help get the homeless off the streets.

Price’s 9th District, which includes the convention center, has more than 4,800 homeless people in 2020 with 2,700 people on the streets in that district. Nearly half of the homeless in his district are sheltered, a rate that is well above the city’s average.

‘In the midst of the pandemic, we must take bold, dramatic action and do everything possible to ensure the safety of our communities,’ Price said.

‘At this moment in time, we are being hard-pressed to think outside the box, come up with a variety of solutions and look for ways to use existing resources that are underutilized at a fraction of the cost,’ he added.

The motion was also presented by fellow Council members Gilbert A Cedillo and Kevin De Leon.

Councilman Curren D. Price Jr of the city's 9th District introduced the motion to house the city¿s needy as cold temperatures and more rain arrives to the region

Councilman Curren D. Price Jr of the city’s 9th District introduced the motion to house the city’s needy as cold temperatures and more rain arrives to the region

The motion, which is also presented by fellow Council members Gilbert A Cedillo and Kevin De Leon, pictured above asking the city and several agencies to 'evaluate the use of the Los Angeles convention center as a temporary emergency homeless shelter' and report on its feasibility within the next 30 days

The motion, which is also presented by fellow Council members Gilbert A Cedillo and Kevin De Leon, pictured above asking the city and several agencies to ‘evaluate the use of the Los Angeles convention center as a temporary emergency homeless shelter’ and report on its feasibility within the next 30 days

In April this year the convention center was turned into a temporary medical facility meant to help with hospital overflow during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, and 250 beds were set up, with the ability to expand operations if necessary. In the end the field hospital was never used as local hospitals contained the crisis.

The National Guard also staged an area for troops to sleep in the center during the civil unrest following George Floyd’s death in May. That effort cost $1million for six days covering the costs of furniture, portable bathrooms, showers, cleaning and meals.

Now Doane Liu of the city’s Department of Convention and Tourism Development wants to know the cost of housing the homes.

‘Specifically, our convention center does not have enough bathrooms, does not have any showers,’ Liu said to the Los Angeles Times.

A view of National Guard members setting up medical beds at the convention center above

A view of National Guard members setting up medical beds at the convention center above 

The National Guard also staged an area for troops to sleep in the center during the civil unrest following George Floyd¿s death in May. That effort cost $1million for six days covering the costs of furniture, portable bathrooms, showers, cleaning and meals

The National Guard also staged an area for troops to sleep in the center during the civil unrest following George Floyd’s death in May. That effort cost $1million for six days covering the costs of furniture, portable bathrooms, showers, cleaning and meals 

‘When the building is empty, electricity and utilities are not on. Those are costs that are going to need to be borne by somebody.’

San Diego moved their homeless into its convention enter early in the pandemic and by the summer about 1,300 people were staying there a night.

When the center reverts back to its normal operations by the end of the year, about $40million will have been spent to run it as a shelter.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said he’s open to the idea but he thinks hotel and motel rooms are a more efficient way to keep people off the streets.

‘I think it merits studying. I’d like that report to be turned around quickly,’ he said.

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