Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu sent a letter to the White House Thursday asking to use an Army Reserve building as a temporary homeless shelter.
The Army Reserve has refused to allow any city officials to visit or study the underused lot at 5161 Sepulveda Blvd. for temporary housing, even though it is fenced off and unused, according to Ryu.
“After many years of neglect, I am pleased to see the federal government notice this humanitarian crisis felt across our nation,” Ryu wrote in his letter. “This site, in the Los Angeles City Council District I represent, could serve as a location for homeless bridge housing.”
Ryu said a tentative visit to the reserve site had been planned last year, but the Army Reserve stopped responding to requests and no site visit or study took place.
“There are hundreds of people experiencing homelessness, many of them veterans, living in the immediate area,” he said.
According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority data released in June, there are more than 1,100 homeless people living in Ryu’s Fourth District, 34 of whom were identified as veterans.
“What will solve homelessness are more homes, as well as increased access to services that have been routinely denied to poor and vulnerable Americans,” Ryu wrote. “What will not solve homelessness are cages, quarantines or shoddily built structures lacking services or oversight. If you are interested in solutions to homelessness, I urge you to allow us access to this underused lot.”
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