The Dream Center, a giant shelter for homeless families and other persons in need, plans to house as as many as 1,250 residents now that a $20 million renovation to the former Queen of Angels Hospital on the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake has been completed, the Daily News reports. Currently there are about 700 people living in “triple bunked” conditions in the 15-story building that overlooks the Hollywood Freeway, said Dream Center pastor Matthew Barnett, whose congregation is based at Angelus Temple near Echo Park Lake, said the renovation of eight floors in building located at Bellevue Avenue and Waterloo Street will permit the facility to make room for about 500 more people. Barnett told the Daily News that the expansion comes in the face of an “explosion of need” as the recession finds people from across Los Angeles seeking a place to stay at the Dream Center, which runs several social service programs on the grounds of the 11-acre property. Said Barnett:
“The recession has caused an epidemic of family homelessness,” Barnett said. “I have never seen anything like it. We could open up the entire hospital tower for families and I believe we’d fill it …. It seems like the whole campus is littered with people from the Valley who have lost their jobs.”
One of the newly renovated floors will serve as a Women’s Recovery Home and Family Ministry, which will open on Thursday.
Photo from the Dream Center website.