City library near Sunset Blvd. to be ‘bridge’ housing for women

| November 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

GARDEN COURTYARD is the setting for review of building renderings by Sarah Dusseault, Councilman David Ryu and City Engineer Gary Lee Moore.

One year after a November 2017 announcement by Councilman David Ryu and the City of Los Angeles, ground was broken (more accurately, ankle-deep debris was cleaned off the floors) to remodel a former public library building into a facility that will provide 30 beds and services for women experiencing homelessness.

The “bridge housing” project on North Gardner Street at De Longpre Avenue (one block south of Sunset Boulevard), will include welcoming outdoor spaces while respecting the Mid-Century Modern building’s International style design by architecture firm Honnold and Rex.

The city expects the housing project to be completed by late summer of 2019. The facility also will have offices for case managers who will work with residents to transition them into long-term housing. Renovation work will primarily take place inside the building, with the original façade and exterior trees on the city-owned former library remaining in place.

At the groundbreaking event, Councilman Ryu said, “Today, we are turning a new page in the story of homelessness in Hollywood and Council District Four. I am proud to work with the city, county and community on turning this former library into a home, and into a beacon of hope for women facing homelessness.”

Women and children

In 2017, more women and children lived on the streets of Los Angeles than in any previous year, and both groups face higher risk of victimization living on the streets or in traditional shelters.

“Women and women-led families are some of the most vulnerable and fastest growing subsets of the homeless population,” said Sarah Dusseault, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) vice-chair. “Thanks to Los Angeles voters and unprecedented collaboration across the county, we have resources and a plan that’s working to address the homelessness crisis. As a community, we must continue supporting projects like this to help our neighbors build a more secure and stable future and reduce homelessness in our region.”

Also speaking at the event were City Administrative Officer Rich Llewellyn, City Engineer Gary Lee Moore (whose office will oversee the project), neighbor JoAnn Kaplan, and Ann McCall. Formerly homeless herself for some years, McCall has a master’s degree and now advocates for addressing the local homeless crisis.

“Bridge” housing

Because of constituent concerns and questions that have arisen during the planning of this project, Councilman Ryu and his staff have been answering the questions that come up most often. For example,

staff has explained that “bridge” housing is not the nightly housing that most people think of as a traditional “shelter.” Bridge housing residents have met basic permanent housing program eligibility requirements and are actively working with case managers to locate permanent housing. Residents will live in a facility like the repurposed public library for a minimum of 90 days with a possible extension of up to two years.Another question has asked how the needed housing facilities are being located. The council office has explained: “This crisis affects all neighborhoods, and to solve this crisis, we will need multiple sites in multiple neighborhoods. All council districts are looking for locations, and CD4 is looking for additional locations throughout our district.”

A frequent question about the Gardner Street building, and similar facilities, is: “Who will run this bridge housing location?” The council office explains that there will be a nonprofit operator that goes through a selection process overseen by LAHSA to ensure that the operator performs in accordance with federal, state, county and city guidelines.

LAHSA is an independent government agency that was formed in 1993 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City Council. LAHSA partners with both the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles to integrate services and housing opportunities for homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County.

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