A petition started by Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell calling for the shuttered St. Vincent Medical Center to be reopened as an acute care center for people experiencing homelessness surpassed 1,000 signatures Monday.
The vacant, 381-bed hospital is owned by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who O’Farrell called “the richest person in Los Angeles.” Soon-Shiong, a transplant surgeon, is also known as the owner of the Los Angeles Times.
The petition, on Change.org, launched in June.
“Angelenos want St. Vincent to reopen immediately as an acute facility for people experiencing homeless,” O’Farrell said. “There’s no more time to waste. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong could help us rebuild the lives of hundreds of Angelenos at a time — if only he would come to the table.”
The property was bought by Soon-Shiong in April 2020. The county of Los Angeles had submitted a bid a couple months earlier to purchase it to use for homeless housing and assistance. The previous owner, Verity Health System, began a partnership with the state in March 2020 to open the hospital for COVID-19 patients.
In June, Soon-Shiong said in a statement to City News Service that he agreed “that medical care and mental health services are important issues in confronting the homelessness crisis,” and that he looked forward “to the opportunity to discuss this in-depth with members of the City Council.”
On Monday, O’Farrell’s office said Soon-Shiong has not yet responded to the councilman’s request to meet.
O’Farrell also introduced a resolution last month seeking assistance from the state in reopening the facility.