On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that 42 Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Recreation Centers, which have been closed to the public during the current “shelter at home” orders, will be turned into temporary shelters for Angelenos who have neither homes nor shelter.
According to CurbedLA, “The plan is to house 6,000 people, with 1,600 beds opening at 13 locations by Sunday night, for the estimated 11,177 people living in vehicles, tents, and makeshift shelters in the city of Los Angeles.”
The LA Times reported that the initial 13 shelters will be set up at the following parks, with Pan Pacific Park the closest to our general Mid-Wilshire area:
- Pan Pacific Recreation Center, 7600 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
- Granada Hills Recreation Center, 16730 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills
- Hollywood Recreation Center, 1122 Cole Ave., Los Angeles
- Northridge Recreation Center, 18300 Lemarsh St., Northridge
- Westchester Recreation Center, 7000 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles
- North Hollywood Recreation Center, 11430 Chandler Blvd., North Hollywood
- Woodland Hills Recreation Center, 5858 Shoup Ave., Woodland Hills
- Westwood Recreation Center, 1350 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles
- Yosemite Recreation Center, 1840 Yosemite Drive, Los Angeles
- Central Recreation Center, 1357 E. 22nd St., Los Angeles
- Echo Park Community Center, 303 Patton St., Los Angeles
- Cheviot Hills Recreation Center, 2551 Motor Ave., Los Angeles
- 109th Recreation Center, 1464 East 109th St., Los Angeles
In a letter to local community organizations this morning, City Council Member David Ryu wrote:
“During this Coronavirus pandemic, the most important thing is maintaining everyone’s health and safety. That is why the City has shut down bars, restaurants and entertainment venues, and it is why we are strongly urging everyone to stay in their home.
However, the reality is that too many Angelenos don’t have a place to call home. I have long called for a FEMA-like response to our homelessness crisis, but especially now, during a worldwide pandemic, we must be doing everything we can to bring people indoors and connected to care as quickly as possible.
To that end, the Mayor has announced immediate sheltering for Angelenos experiencing homelessness at recreation centers across Los Angeles. These recreation centers are currently closed due to the pandemic, and it’s crucial that we move as quickly as possible to make these centers available for safe and temporary sheltering, bring people inside, and stop the spread of novel Coronavirus.
There are going to be 42 sites with a total of 6565 beds opening across Los Angeles, and you can see the full list attached. One of those sites will be at the Pan Pacific Park Recreation Center, which has the capacity and facilities on site to make a useful temporary shelter during this emergency. This temporary sheltering serves as a public health response while the City is in its state of emergency, and will be routinely sanitized to ensure the health & safety of those staying there.
People experiencing homelessness are more likely to catch a virus and have the underlying health conditions that make recovery difficult. That’s why a true Citywide response to this crisis includes bringing as many people indoors as quickly as possible.
I’m sure you have questions, and we are here to share all the information available. Please reach us at [email protected] or 213 473-7004.”
According to Rec and Parks spokesperson Ashley Rodriguez, quoted in the Times story, “The department will provide beds, offer personal hygiene kits and make showers accessible…Meals will be provided with the support from other government agencies and nonprofit organizations.”
And finally, LAPD Wilshire Division Captain Shannon Paulson reported that “We will have uniformed LAPD personnel posted at the shelter sight throughout the day and night at Pan Pacific for the duration of this operation.” She also noted that “we here at Wilshire have seen NO increase in crime related in any way, or a result of, the current national/international crisis. We have placed detective personnel in uniform and augmented our patrols, specifically focusing that additional patrol effort on our retail areas that have closed, our grocery stores which have seen crowds and demand increase, and to patrol our three area hospitals.”
[Note: this story was updated after its initial publication to add the comments from LAPD Captain Paulson.]