Advocates for homeless fear displacement amid downtown L.A. development

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Downtown L.A.'s Skid Row has nearly 4,800 homeless residents, living in an area of about half a square mile, encompassing 50 city blocks.

The Los Angeles Planning Department is mapping out a 20-year plan for future development of the area, known as DTLA 2040.

The plan for Skid Row calls for rezoning the area to allow the development of more supportive or affordable housing. That's not set in stone as the plan is a work in progress.

But Skid Row advocates are concerned. They fear the plan will shrink the area available to the homeless even as their population continues to grow.

They say the city needs to focus first on providing more housing for the homeless.

The city Planning Department estimates that over the next 20 years, downtown will add some 125,000 residents, 70,000 housing units and create 55,000 jobs.

Advocates say future plans would allow developers to build luxury apartments instead of affordable housing in this area.

"Although luxury apartments provide housing for some, they are completely inaccessible to the Skid Row community," said advocate Craig Roberts.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer says dealing with the homeless in future years is a citywide issue that needs to be dealt with now.

"The concentration of homelessness on Skid Row is one issue that we have to be grappling with very seriously," Feuer said. "The pervasiveness of the issue throughout our city requires every one of us to step up."
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