Finding homes, shelter is key to solution, says councilmember

| August 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

•Street safety is also on Yaroslavsky’s agenda

The Chronicle recently spoke with CD5 Councilwoman Katy Young Yaroslavsky about her first eight months in office. Here are excerpts from that interview.


Yaroslavsky told us that she and her team have been hard at work on both homelessness and street safety. The councilwoman said that Mayor Bass’ Inside Safe program is working well for CD5. Inside Safe aims to move people out of homeless encampments and into interim housing while long-term housing is found.

CD5 has benefited from two Inside Safe cleanups this year — on Sixth Street behind the Academy Museum and on San Vicente Boulevard between Third Street and Wilshire Boulevard, plus points south on San Vicente. Yaroslavsky told us that the mayor’s office has been helpful in bringing together all the necessary departments for Inside Safe’s success. Partnering with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the CD5 team was also able to remove an encampment on Jasmine Avenue near Culver City in front of a school and day care center. “We have a lot more work to do,” said Yaroslavsky. But the councilwoman is pleased that there hasn’t been repopulation in the three areas mentioned.

Need for beds

“The challenge for our district is a lack of interim beds,” said Yaroslavsky. Every neighborhood has concerns about the unhoused, and the councilwoman’s office is methodically working to move across the district to house the unhoused. Unfortunately, motel beds in the area are priced at a higher per-night rate than the city can spend.

Yaroslavsky is pleased that her team has partnered with council members in other districts for interim housing while CD5 brings on additional beds in its own district.

But the need for beds in CD5 is very real. When the councilwoman gained office, it was for a district that doesn’t yet have any general population adult interim housing units. There are some family units, senior units and senior veteran units — fewer than 100 in total — which is the least of any of the 15 city council districts. Because CD5 has no general population adult interim beds, if an unhoused person doesn’t fall within one of the non-general adult population categories, there is not a bed available for him or her. “We can’t move these people until we can move them to a bed,” said Yaroslavsky.

To solve this problem, the councilwoman has been looking to use city parking lots and other city-owned land in the district for interim housing.

“We are proposing approximately 30 units of small interim housing at a site on Pico Boulevard at Midvale Avenue.” It is currently a city-owned parking lot. “We are also looking at other sites across the district onto which we can put other kinds of housing: interim, supportive, 100 percent affordable, domestic violence survivor beds — there’s a need for all of it,” said Yaroslavsky.

A project called The Pointe on La Brea, which should be opening in the next month, will bring online 49 units of adult permanent supportive housing. “It’s a drop in the bucket,” said the councilwoman. “We need lots and lots of drops in the bucket.”

Street safety

When asked about her work on street safety, the councilwoman told us the issue is very personal to her. Yaroslavsky has three young children, and the family walks to school, crossing La Cienega Boulevard each school day.

Last spring, at the same moment a Hancock Park Elementary School mother was struck by a car while walking her first-grader to school, Yaroslavsky was walking her second-grader to school. “All Angelenos deserve to feel safe walking or biking on our streets. We have the obligation to do that work and find a way to pay for it. We can’t just keep saying there’s no money for it. That’s unacceptable,” said the councilwoman.

In response to the Hancock Park Elementary tragedy, Yaroslavsky’s office partnered with the Department of Transportation to make immediate design changes to streets adjacent to the school. Quick-build fixes were installed including new paint, reflectors, extra signage, lane delineators and speed bumps. The councilwoman told us that she has received good feedback from parents and from the school on those improvements. But, she said, “We need to do it everywhere.”

Slowing speeders

The CD5 team is looking at possible improvements across the district to prevent drivers from speeding. “We need to fund the things that we say we care about,” said Yaroslavsky. The councilwoman told us she is going to be pushing hard in this year’s budget to get more money allocated for both the staffing and actual improvement work that needs to be done.

Right now, on Rosewood Avenue, a street that many drivers use as a cut-through, Yaroslavsky is piloting a slow street program between Fairfax and La Brea avenues. “We’ve installed one of two roundabouts there to help slow down traffic,” said the councilwoman. She is also working to make sure crosswalks are more visible and has worked to install 30 speed humps around schools. The councilwoman tells us that she aims to work with each school and community in the district to find out what they need from the city and then to get it done. “There is a lot we can do to narrow the lanes and get people to slow down,” said Yaroslavsky.

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Category: People

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