As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Tuesday renewed its offer of a 74-room Van Nuys hotel for use to temporarily house the homeless and/or suspected coronavirus patients.
Last week, in response to mounting health concerns for the homeless and alleged ongoing inaction by Los Angeles officials, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter issued a ruling compelling local governments to develop a plan for providing emergency shelter or housing for 6,000 to 7,000 homeless individuals currently living near freeway overpasses and underpasses in Los Angeles.
Legal briefs on the plan are expected to be filed in Los Angeles federal court before the relocation order is scheduled to go into effect Friday.
According to AHF, Los Angeles city and county officials continue to fall short in their efforts to provide emergency shelter or housing for the homeless during the pandemic. In L.A. County, officials identified 15,000 people — a quarter of the homeless population — who meet the age or health criteria to be moved into hotels. As of Tuesday, the county had secured 3,337 rooms and moved guests into 2,149 of them.
A county representative declined comment.
AHF’s Healthy Housing Foundation said it first offered use of its Valley Haven hotel to government officials more than two months ago, following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide call to action. At the time, Housing Is A Human Right and the Healthy Housing Foundation, the housing advocacy and housing provider divisions of AHF, applauded the efforts of Newsom to swiftly address the coronavirus crisis. AHF also urged both state and local legislators to move quickly to protect unhoused residents and vulnerable tenants.
AHF said it purchased the Valley Haven in January to repurpose it as homeless and extremely-low-income housing for its Healthy Housing program but had not yet leased it out when the pandemic hit.
“We tried repeatedly to make this property available for use to alleviate the crisis during the pandemic,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “It’s really a beautiful, turnkey facility well-suited to the task. If we can somehow cut through the red tape, we are only too happy to put it to use sheltering those in need during this crisis.”