WEST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council on Friday approved a controversial West L.A. housing facility for homeless people that has sparked opposition among some local residents and business owners.
A parking lot off Pico Boulevard and Midvale will soon temporarily house the homeless, after the proposal received unanimous support from the council.
The site is located in Council District 5, where open space for interim housing is hard to find. Currently, there are only 100 interim beds in the entire district.
"We need these beds. I wouldn't be doing this if we didn't. I know that 33 beds doesn't seem like a lot. It's because in all honesty, it's not. It's not nearly enough considering the emergency we're in right now. But, it is 33 more than have ever been built in council district 5 for general population adults," said Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, who represents the 5th District.
A group of residents and business owners against the project tried to address the City Council before Friday's vote, but they weren't given the opportunity and so they stormed out, worried about how the neighborhood will change.
"They had their vote already. They don't want to listen to us. She shut us up from day one. This was all done secretively," said Vita Lucia, a longtime resident of the neighborhood.
One of the reasons why this interim housing project has been so controversial is that it's sandwiched between a neighborhood and a residential business district on Pico Boulevard -- a business district that relies on this space for parking.
"We absolutely will go out of business if this takes place -- not only because we're a family owned business, but because the area has already been hit so hard. This is the last straw and the nail in the coffin," said Katherine Nilsen, who manages a business near the site.
Each unit will have an in-suite bathroom and bed, there will be 24 hour security, video cameras, and the city will enforce the no camping rule within 1,000 feet of the site. Those opposed say they aren't against a shelter, but pushed to have one on Cotner Avenue along the 405 Freeway instead because more space is available there.
"For the businesses on Pico, you have my word that we're going to secure additional parking before we break ground on this project," said Yaroslavsky said during Friday's council meeting. "And to the entire community, you have my word that we're going to work with the entire community, LAPD, and the service provider to develop and robust neighborhood security plan."