STUDIO CITY—On Tuesday, July 31, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to transform the former Los Angeles Children’s Museum located at the Civic Center Pavilion will be turned into temporary homeless housing.
The museum closed in 2000, and has not been in use since. According to city officials, 120 beds can be held in the 14,000 square-foot building. Many of the shelters inhabitants will come from Skid Row.
Los Angeles City Council member José Huizar said that Skid Row has, “The largest homeless encampment in the nation.” He added, “Skid Row is the result of years of neglect and legal decisions. We have to be creative. While this is a step forward, there is a sea of despair and humanity in Skid Row. It is untenable. It is the very definition of an emergency, and we need to treat it as such.”
According to Huizar, the shelter is estimated to house around 2,000 people, it will not be enough to accommodate all of those on Skid Row who need shelter. Huizar indicated that the city would have to consider leasing sites from private owners.
In April 2018, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a shelter crisis. The goal was to provide emergency housing to the staggering number of unsheltered homeless residents in LA. “This is the right thing to do, it is the moral thing to do,” said Garcetti.
This is the first building owned by the city of Los Angeles that will be used for temporary, emergency shelter. Los Angeles is the first city in California to take advantage of a new state law allowing local governments to use land owned or leased by the city in order to make temporary shelters. The former museum is one of about a dozen other structures in the city that have been identified as proposed sites for temporary shelters.