Skid Row may hit suburbs
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventThe regional centers are an effort to solve that. Like Skid Row’s missions, they would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Police and hospitals would be able to take homeless people there instead of to Skid Row. Covina City Manager Paul Philips has been pushing a similar idea for years, and he’s caught the attention of the East San Gabriel Valley Consortium on Homelessness, a group of about 30 homeless services providers, city officials and police. “I’m glad the \ are thinking about it,” Philips said. Covina has already taken one step, purchasing a home using federal and local grant money to house two or three homeless families. The families would have a high level of supervision and counseling until they can get back on their feet. More importantly, Philips said, the small number of homeless who would stay in the home, which could open this year, would hardly be noticeable to the community. The county Board of Supervisors will consider Tuesday a massive investment in homeless services, a key element of which would regionalize the problem, setting up five Skid Row-style facilities in the suburbs. The county’s $100 million plan would include novel ideas like a “homeless court,” where officials could dismiss nuisance violations for homeless people who get prolonged treatment. The plan comes in response to increasing pressure to clean up Skid Row, the 50-block area of downtown Los Angeles where many of the county’s 91,000 homeless people end up. Los Angeles police have complained that suburban departments bring their homeless to Skid Row for treatment and temporary shelter. Often, Los Angeles police say, homeless people from the suburbs end up being downtown’s problem. If every city in the county provided five of these homes each, there would be enough beds to house most of the county’s 7,500 homeless families. “I think it needs to be sprinkled uniformly throughout the regions, small amounts of housing,” Philips said. Rabbi Marvin Gross, executive director of Pasadena’s Union Station Foundation, San Gabriel Valley’s largest private agency serving the poor and homeless, said the county’s plan to decentralize the homeless population is an extremely important step in the right direction. “Communities where there are homeless folks have the responsibility to provide aid and service to those citizens,” Gross said. But Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who represents the San Gabriel Valley, said he was concerned that the county plan is too expensive and would take money out of the county’s general fund. The way Antonovich sees it, saddling the suburbs with homeless would be unfair. “They should not be forced to take on a downtown L.A. problem without their involvement and approval,” Antonovich said. “The city of L.A. – traditionally all they have done is have their hand out.” Studies show the suburbs generate their fair share of homeless. A 2003 study revealed 3,000 homeless people living in East San Gabriel Valley. Most of them said they became homeless in east Valley cities. It remains unclear where the five 24-hour facilities would be built. The county’s plan calls for one in each of the supervisorial districts. The new facilities would be expansions of existing homeless shelters, according to the plan. Antonovich was in Pasadena last week to present a check for $1 million to Union Station for its expansion. He praised the facility for engaging with the community and winning acceptance from its neighbors. As a residential facility, Union Station is not open round-the-clock, which means it has less of an impact on its surrounding neighborhood than a 24-hour mission-style facility would. Even so, Pasadena Councilman Sid Tyler said it was “a bloody war” to find a place for Union Station 20 years ago. The expansion plan ran into neighborhood opposition last year, which was eventually resolved. Staff Writer Jason Kosareff contributed to this story. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4444160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!