It’s been a couple of months now that much of the former Queen of Angeles Hospital that looms over the 101 freeway has been shrouded in scaffolding and black tarp. What’s going on? Answer: one of the largest housing projects around. In January, officials at what’s now called the Dream Center – described as being located “in the heart of poverty, hopelessness, and violence” or what we call Echo Park – announced the beginning of an $18 million renovation of the hilltop compound, which is owned by an evangelical ministry headed by pastor Matthew Barnett. The project will allow The Dream Center, which provides shelter and other social services as part of its religious mission, to house up to as many 1,200 people. It already has a capacity of 600.
The Dream Center has promoted the expansion as it raises funds. But some residents closer to home have not heard much about what’s going on. The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, for example, has not been briefed on the renovation, according to one board member. It’s not clear whether the housing figures mentioned are for temporary overnight shelter or longer-term residents. Dream Center officials did not respond to several calls and emails from The Eastsider seeking an update on the project. Guess we will all find out what’s going on when the shroud comes down.