Nonprofit hopes to use parking lots in Los Angeles to create homeless housing

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A nonprofit group is looking to create housing for the homeless by using parking lots in all the different districts in Los Angeles. (KABC)

Where people only see parking lots, homeless advocates see a potential solution.

They see housing that could look sleek and attractive. One of those structures was built on what had been an industrial lot in Del Rey.

A nonprofit group, Venice Community Housing, Inc., said the need is so urgent for housing that they'll be leveling its own offices to make room for a multi-use building that will provide permanent homes for the homeless.

The vision now is to convert the lot into a 140-unit complex for low-income workers and people who are in tents.

"There hasn't been a ground-up, 100-percent affordable development in this community for more than 15 years. We've got 1,000 folks sleeping on our streets and sidewalks. So it would really restart the energy around affordable housing in the neighborhood," said Becky Dennison, with the organization.

But purchasing property is too pricey, which is why the city is prospecting through 119 of its own parking lots, searching for buildable space. The funding will be supplied by Measure HHH, which was approved by voters.

The goal is to provide homeless housing in every district. Dispersal is a requirement for federal dollars and ensures that low-income neighborhoods do not carry that burden.

"Everybody has to carry their fair share. If we do that, it becomes manageable, it becomes reasonable," Councilman Gil Cedillo said.

A key issue for this project is overcoming community objections. Eyewitness News heard from both sides about the Venice project.

"I'd say no because it's just going to attract more homeless people and it's already disgusting down here with all these guys just throwing trash out here and doing drugs," Sean Lavery said.

But a campaign for approval is underway.

"It changes lives. It saves the city and county money. We believe that people should say yes, especially in their backyard," Dennison said.

The Venice project is still a long away off. The building will need multiple approvals, which could take more than a year.
Related Topics:
societyhomelesshousingnonprofitcommunityLos AngelesVeniceLos Angeles County
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