Homeless housing proposed for Echo Park public parking lots

Echo Park public parking lot

Echo Park — An influential nonprofit has proposed building housing for the homeless on at least one of two public parking lots that serve the neighborhood’s Sunset Boulevard business district.

The proposal by El Centro Del Pueblo comes as the social services agency is fighting a proposal by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to build homeless housing on part of its recreation area, which sits across from one of two public parking lots.

In an email sent late Monday, El Centro urged its supporters to attend a Tuesday night meeting regarding O’Farrell’s proposal to build a complex that includes permanent housing and services for the homeless.

“We believe it is smarter to build the housing across the street, replace the existing parking for the Echo Park commercial district and add more parking for the residents of the new housing project,” said the email. “In fact, El Centro presented a plan for affordable housing on these same lots several years ago. We are bringing that proposal back to make it happen.”

The two public parking lots with spaces for about 150 vehicles combined are located south of Sunset Boulevard between Lemoyne Street and Echo Park Avenue.  It’s not clear from El Centro’s email if it is proposing to build housing on one or two of the lots.

O’Farrell’s office has favored the El Centro recreation area as a site for homeless housing because it is centrally located  and near major bus lines (a playground off of Lemoyne Street would remain).  The site — located south of Sunset between Glendale Boulevard and Lemoyne Street —  is also on land owned by the city.

But El Centro says that the recreation area  — itself a former public parking lot — plays a key role in its social services to youths and families.

The agency is headed by Sandra Figueroa, a police commissioner and ally of Mayor Eric Garcetti. In fact, Garcetti made one of his first public appearances after being elected in 2013 as mayor at the El Centro playing courts.

Tuesday’s meeting/open house, which is being hosted by Council District 13, is scheduled to be held at 6 pm at 11oo Glendale Boulevard. The council office is asking attendees to RSVP by calling (213) 207-3015 or sending an email to juan.fregoso@lacity.org.

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  1. I have no idea why you would use that valuable parking for the homeless. That parking makes it so much easier to get to those local businesses. Why would you make it more difficult for businesses? They are the ones paying the taxes.

  2. But where will we house the displaced cars? Won’t somebody please think of the cars?!

  3. This is insane. These people refuse the services offered to them – mental health, housing, drug rehabilitation… They want to live on the streets and police are at their wits end. I have spoken to officers who have been spit on and harassed on a daily basis for even speaking to them. I have been so empathetic but my empathy has changed knowing that the majority of homeless in this area are refusing to get the help they need. Finally this area is becoming safe and these small non-corporate businesses are thriving yet we want to create a space that could potentially make it less safe again.

  4. So… El Centro del Pueblo is saying that the constantly busy commercial parking lot serving Stories, Sage, and all the other commercial businesses in the area should be turned into homeless housing because they don’t want to lose their employee parking lot and what looks like a racquetball and basketball court. Nice. I mean, I’m all for recreation but there’s already another basketball court two blocks away on bellevue. Is this court really more valuable to the community than housing the homeless?

  5. This is absurd, the city is so disconnected from the actual taxpaying citizen base. Parking is one of the scarcest commodities left in LA. Throwing more resources at people wont make them improve their own situation, but rather the opposite.

    • No need to *replace* city parking. It’s a matter of building vertically. A lot can fit into those parking lots (it’s unbelievable that we have parking LOTS instead of parking structures in a city this big—-talk about a dead zone!).

  6. WE have a massive public park a block away. We have all of Elysian Park within walking distance with multiple areas for recreation. There are ample places for recreation. It’s just not a good business move if you take away these small business’s parking. We need tax revenues coming into LA to support these homeless initiatives. If you cut off available parking, you cut off funding. Build the new homeless site at the site already used to help the community. It just makes sense. It’s a difficult situation and we need to care for our homeless, but we can’t cut off parking for the very businesses bringing in the tax revenues.

    • Mary, I agree with much of what you are saying, with one question: Which site are you referring to as being, “…already used to help the community.” Thanks

  7. Bravo: Nobody Drives, Jonesy, Laveta & Mary – and Garcetti/ City Council. We are either a Society and all in this together, or we are are heartless.

  8. I’ve said this before but where’s Angelus Temple/Foursquare Church in all this conversation about housing the homeless? They have a massive parking lot structure that sits empty most of the time, for which they’re presumably paying no property taxes. If one of their missions is to care for the homeless, how about opening up the lot to the public so that building a shelter on the city-owned lots wouldn’t take away valuable spaces? Or how about converting the structure itself to homeless housing?

    I just hate looking at the giant eyesore of a building that’s so unwelcoming to the neighborhood.

    • I’ve wondered that many times myself. Frankly, the city should just eminent domain that building and turn it into a lot for the city.

      To me, the best solution is to build supportive housing on the parking lots but to include public parking as part of the new structures. Angelus Temple parking could be used as a temporary replacement during the construction.

  9. It may be just me, having undergone a stroke recently, but I can’t make head nor tail of the map above.

    Could The Eastsider possibly post maps showing rhe area as it is now, labeled as such, and how it would look if O’Farrel’s plan and/or the El Center Del Pueblo plans go through?

    This obviously is a touchy subject, as people are responding more than usual. Thanks

  10. Sounds like they’re proposing replacing the parking (probably with a structure) and even adding more.

  11. The fine people of Echo Park understand the needs to help the homeless. One of the largest organized holiday food drives is in Echo Park aka Gobble gobble give at The Echo Plex. With that these locations that are considered are horrible. One block from store fronts on Sunset. Killing the local revenue of tax dollars, property tax and safety. Two blocks from a school, one block from the Echo Park Lake. Say goodbye to the Friday Farmers Market. Councilman O’Farrell should know this move is his political death and forget about trying to run for Mayor in the next couple years. Echo Park Lake is covered in tents, drug use and insane people who are threatening the safety of children and people. We can help those in need without destroying property value, safety and security. I challenge Councilman O’Farrell to just take a walk around the Echo Park Lake, without any news, publicity and police escorts. Maybe then he will see what the tax paying voting people are asking for. Safety, security of property.

  12. Yes! Palmero is saying. Exactly that. WTF, why isn’t the nearby tax exempt temple doing more???!!!

  13. FIRE MITCH! This is absurd. He’s just in it for himself and his close friends. Lets take parking away but give it to the residents that are homeless. Brilliant.

  14. Does anyone even look around and actually pay attention anymore. When I walk up Glendale blvd. each day I pass by the tents a few yes. The tented homeless. Then I walk past the grifters and professional panhandlers that work the area of Berkley and alvarado going past vast parking lots like Vons which is 4 times the size of the actual market. I say professional panhandlers because everyone in this city gives them a profitable trade. 2014 traffic statitistics say 70,000 cars go down Glendale blvd. every day. Get 25¢ from 1/4 of the cars $4375 a day. And as I walk past each and every one of you in bumper to bumper traffic all headed the same way all one person per car I am dumbfounded in the utter ridiculousness of it all. You say homelessness is a blight on the city I say your traffic is the enema of that blight. Every freeway, road and parking lot a commodity for your exhaust spewing motorized trash cans. Fret for your parking spaces God forbid you would have to take a bus and walk anywhere. Or at least commute so traffic isn’t so objectively laughable and be neighborly so you would know your neighborhood taking side streets and avoiding the profitable cardboard sign holders. Real cities don’t have cars they have city centers where everyone walks. Seeing as rent is so high because housing inspections must give every person 1 covered parking space per habitable room in their house let’s flip that around and now that people are living out of their cars require the car to pass an inspection every year. Other states do it. I’m not talking smog check I’m talking full inspection to make it so of your check engine light is on or unbalanced tires or needs an oil change or new windshield wipers or brake pads are maintained so unless fixed the cars should be uninsureable. Create free living centers for everyone. The more we consume the more we destroy ourselves, our neighbors and our planet. You want less homelessness and less parking because there should be less driving over inflating the negativity and perpetuating a handout business which keeps us cold and uncaring to many of those who need a handout. 70000 cars a day and that is almost a 5 year old statistic so im sure it’s gone up. Just remember the more people who take public transportation the more public transportation there will be. And until then maybe put l a toll booth at the end of the 2 freeway as a reminder to change our city one car less at a time. Let’s put some flora and fauna in this concrete jungle. Yeah some of the homeless might not want help, or to be housed and fed by evangelism. Some might be mental and could use a doctor first with a correct diagnosis to treat a condition likely exasperated by the struggle of shelter, security, nutrition and lack of compassion everytime someone calls the police. Some may be addicted to drugs but before coming so quick to judge them I say ban seratonin and dopamamine for everyone and every addiction will go away. Or maybe it’s not the addiction maybe it’s the cage. The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety it’s connection. Community. Give a hug instead of a shaming comment. We are so oppressed and fed systematic bs since we are born. Some times it’s best to put our obsessions down, to realize this work we do isn’t in the best interest of anyone and quit giving the powerful any attention. It is time we remember our sovereignty as equals created with unalienable rights and that only to benefit society in maintaining those rights we have a responsibility to unshackle the chains of tyranny from our feet. The top 1% should be forced to trickle down their economics or be the water for our tree of liberty. Either or. No in between. We sit back and are a gasp at the media covering the way our government behaves yet where are our demonstrations on a daily scale, why are we not like the French rioting in the street. Why ahhh never mind. Look at that shiny talking cube over there and go back to sleep.

    • As the owner of a 20+ year old car that runs just fine, but has a light on the dash because of a part that is no longer manufactured, I have a deep and sincere issue with at least part of your plans.

  15. Where is the article about the meeting/open house? It was quite a scene and should definitely be reported here….There are lots of photos and videos from the evening as well.

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