Can Los Angeles Homeless Initiatives Work Here?

150-bed concept, by DLR Group/EPT. [Image: courtesy Urban Land Institute]

150-bed concept, by DLR Group/EPT. [Image: courtesy Urban Land Institute]

According to a recent article in Fast Company, Los Angeles’s homeless population rose 75% in the past six years. On a given night in the city, around 55,000 sleep on the street, or in cars or under the shelter of a tent.

Residents and city officials alike recognised the need for extreme measures to mitigate the housing shortage: Voters recently approved a tax that would create $4.6 billion to build 10,000 units over the next decade, and a new developer fee is expected to create an additional $100 million per year for affordable housing. Through its recently approved Accessory Dwelling Unit initiative the city could soon also see around 10,000 new homes pop up in residential yards.

But these solutions will be years in the making. Los Angeles needed a way to house thousands of people cheaply, with dignity, as soon as possible. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s A Bridge Home plan, introduced earlier this year, aims to do so by allocating around $20 million toward building a homeless shelter in each of the city’s 15 council districts. These shelters are intended to be temporary stop-gaps to house people while construction begins on new units.

The City engaged ULI,  a member-based organisation that comprises architects, real estate developers, landscape designers, and others invested in the urban landscape. The nonprofit tapped three teams of architects to design concepts for the types of shelters that could emerge as a result of the bridge housing plan.

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