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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES : City Plan to Build Homeless Center Clears First Hurdle

October 28, 1994

The Riordan Administration's controversial plan to build a $4-million homeless drop-in center Downtown cleared its first hurdle Thursday with a vote of support from the City Council's Community and Economic Development Committee.

Committee Chairman Mike Hernandez said he felt assured that the center would be used as a place where transients could get services--not as a "concentration camp" where the homeless would be forced to reside in lieu of arrest. "It is not going to be what people fear it is going to be," Hernandez said.

Under the mayor's plan, the city would purchase a vacant lot in the industrial zone east of Downtown and transform it into a fenced, landscaped area where homeless people could sleep.

The facility would include a 50-bed shelter, showers, restrooms and lockers, along with a service center where homeless people could get drug and job counseling. The center would serve up to 800 people a day. The plan is a major component of a $20-million U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant to combat homelessness in the city.

It will be considered Monday by the City Council's Housing and Community Redevelopment Committee before being forwarded to the full council for a vote. Because the plan is part of a joint city-county program, it also will require the support of the County Board of Supervisors.

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