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

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