L.A. Controller Identifies 26 City Properties Available for Homeless Housing, Calls Status Quo ‘Unacceptable’
LOS ANGELES — In a new report released today, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin identified 26 available properties owned by the City of Los Angeles that could be used to house and serve people experiencing homelessness. Galperin’s team examined and evaluated thousands of properties using specific criteria, including size and current use. He found that, while Los Angeles is using a small portion of the land it owns to address homelessness, there are at least 26 additional properties that the City should explore using immediately. Combined, these properties have the potential to provide 1.7 million square feet of space for interim housing (tiny home villages, safe parking or safe sleeping areas) or support facilities (restrooms, showers and laundry). Most of these properties have not been assessed previously by the City.
“Homelessness is an existential crisis for Los Angeles, and things have only gotten worse during the pandemic,” said Controller Galperin. “With tens of thousands of people sleeping on the streets nightly, the City must do more to alleviate homelessness by using the properties it owns. The status quo is unacceptable. My office took a fresh look at thousands of City properties and identified 26 that can be used right away for interim solutions. These properties are big enough, unused or vacant, and could give shelter and services to thousands of unhoused Angelenos.”
Galperin has twice examined Proposition HHH, the 2016 bond measure that promised to build up to 10,000 supportive homeless housing units. He found the billion-dollar program is failing to meet its goals, with just 1,100 units completed so far and per-unit costs reaching as high as $700,000 — and recommended changing course by funding more immediate shelter solutions. Galperin has consistently urged the City to better use its properties, releasing Property Panel in 2017 and updating it two years later. Because of Galperin’s work on this issue, federal District Court Judge David O. Carter tasked the Controller’s Office in May 2021 with reviewing City-owned properties and determining which ones, if any, could be used for “housing and sheltering the homeless.” His order was part of the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights case that accused the City and County of Los Angeles of violating state and federal laws in their response to the homelessness crisis. Although Judge Carter’s order was later vacated by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Galperin continued the project as he has long advocated for using City-owned properties to help alleviate homelessness.
HOW WE DID IT
Galperin started by reviewing 8,000 City-owned properties listed in the database monitored by the General Services Department. His team determined parcel sizes through a matching process with data from the Los Angeles County Assessor and identified properties that met key criteria, including having a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet and being designated as “vacant” (unused) in the database. After following up with City departments to question them about each property on the list, the Controller’s Office conducted site visits to make basic observations about property conditions, resulting in the final list of 26.
Some City-owned properties identified in the report are:
- 10901 S. Clovis Avenue: 394,000 square feet of vacant land;
- 5975 S. Western Avenue: 121,000 square feet of vacant land;
- 12568 N. San Fernando Road: 96,000 square feet of vacant land; and
- 2010 S. Pisani Place: 25,000 square feet of parking lot.
Galperin’s report recommends that the City formally assess the sites to determine whether they can be prepared quickly and inexpensively for safe parking, safe sleeping villages, tiny home villages or support facilities.
In addition, Galperin believes the site of former LAPD headquarters Parker Center in downtown Los Angeles should be flagged for review and potential use. Demolished in 2020, the 100,000+ square foot parcel has sat vacant for nearly two years and is awaiting a redevelopment plan. It is situated mere blocks from Skid Row, where more than 11% of the City’s homeless population resides. Galperin also wants the City to look at properties owned by Los Angeles World Airports and sparsely used public parking lots.
PROPERTIES MAPPED ONLINE
Along with the report, Galperin created an interactive data story that maps the available properties recommended for use. Users can find out more about each one at https://lacontroller.org/audits-and-reports/city-owned-properties/.