Koreatown residents argue over homeless shelter in the area during City Hall meeting

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A city council committee meeting about temporary homeless shelters in all 15 districts, centered around a proposal for Koreatown, filled city hall with Angelenos who are on both sides of the debate.

"I want permanent affordable housing for our 58,000 homeless Angelenos. But, how can I know how safe it is for my child to attend elementary school next to a temporary shelter without a study?" said an attendee at the meeting.

"These women and these people in the streets right now, one day of shelter makes a difference for them," another speaker said.

Mayor Garcetti has committed 20 million to getting the homeless off the streets and into shelters that would look like this one. The Koreatown temporary shelter would be constructed in a parking lot at Vermont Avenue and 7th Street, which is owned by the city. It would house 100 people and be open a maximum of three years.

"That place is in the middle of the business area - the commercial area. A lot of people coming and doing business there. Why do they have to put the homeless shelter there? Doesn't make any sense to me," said Jae Kim, who lives and works in Koreatown.

Some Koreatown residents at Tuesday's meeting were angry there wasn't a feasibility study done for the shelter and said they weren't consulted.

But council president Herb Wesson, who represents Koreatown, said the shelter will have 24-hour security, 24-hour staff and provide medical and counseling services. He doesn't believe it will negatively impact businesses.

"A heck of a lot better and safer than having people in encampments where you don't know what's going on, don't know who they are, you don't know what their background is," Wesson said.

The proposal passed the homelessness committee and moves forward to the full council in the next few weeks.
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