More than 200 join rally over homeless shelter plan in Koreatown

KOREATOWN, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A large rally was held in Koreatown on Saturday over plans to put a temporary homeless shelter there.

For the second time, more than 200 community members came out to protest plans announced by the city to place a temporary homeless shelter near Vermont Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.

People at the rally said that the proposed homeless facility would be too close to schools and restaurants. They also think the homeless camp wouldn't be able to accommodate the number of people it would attract.

They said they recognize the homeless crisis but claim the city has left them out of the planning process. They want a public hearing to be held.

"I think that we agree with the mayor and the councilman that we want to support, come up with a solution for the homeless, but just letting us know and deciding this is going to be, that (doesn't) really make sense without a long-term solution," said Andrew Lee with the Korean Chamber of Commerce.

Local business owner Johnny Lee was part of a smaller group holding a peaceful counter-protest. He thinks a shelter is needed, and he's OK if it's in the area.

"I've never seen this many encampments in Koreatown in my life. There's a problem here," he said.

Last month, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti declared an emergency shelter crisis. He said his new budget includes $430 million to deal with the homeless issue. Some of the money will go to build long-term housing and some for immediate shelters. That new budget goes into effect July 1.
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