Support for the proposed homeless shelter at 682 S Vermont

May 9, 2018

Herb Wesson
Los Angeles City Council President
10th City Council District
200 North Spring Street, Room 430
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear City Council President Wesson:

This letter expresses the support of the Korean Resource Center for the proposed temporary homeless shelter in Koreatown located at 682 S. Vermont Avenue (CF No. 18-0932).

By way of background, the Korean Resource Center was established in 1983 to empower low-income, immigrant, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and people of color communities in Southern California. Using a holistic approach, KRC strives to empower our community by integrating services, education, culture, organizing, and coalition building, all of which seek to improve the life of the individual and the community. We have long fought for the greater development of affordable housing units for the city. In July 2016, we were able to open our doors to two affordable senior housing units on 900 S. Crenshaw Blvd. and 540 S. Kingsley. From our own conversations with low income seniors, we know that these units barely meet the need. The lack of affordable housing has since given rise to the homelessness that we see today. It is both untenable and unacceptable. As residents of Los Angeles, we are all responsible for finding permanent solutions.

For this reason we supported the passage of Propositions HHH in November 2016 with 77 percent of the vote, and the passage of Measure H in March 2017 with 69 percent of the vote. Both initiatives give the city a mandate to solve the homeless crisis in LA City and County. Proposition HHH provides for $1.2 billion dollars in construction funds for supportive housing and homeless facilities, a long term strategy to provide much needed housing. Measure H provides over $355 million dollars a year in services to complement HHH, providing the much needed support and services that individuals experiencing homelessness need.

We understand that there is also a need for a short-term strategy throughout the City to aid fellow residents in transitioning towards permanent housing and services. In order to address the short-term problems, the Mayor has announced $20 million dollars to build emergency shelters throughout the City, with a minimum of 15 sites up and running by January 2019. With these shelters will come extra services for cleanups and outreach teams for every neighborhood that provides a site. All these measures are vitally important.
According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 400 homeless individuals in Koreatown, one of the largest densities of homelessness in the City. Most publicly owned land in Koreatown are parks, libraries, and schools, and there are very few options to site a temporary shelter where it is desperately needed. The only available site in Koreatown owned and controlled by the City of Los Angeles is the DOT Parking lot at 682 S. Vermont Avenue. Koreatown needs this shelter, and other neighborhoods like Westwood, Hollywood, South Los Angeles, Mid-City, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, and Chinatown MUST follow suit. Our city is only as strong as the spirit of community, generosity, and humanity for all of us. 

Thus, we applaud the City’s recent initiatives over the last three years with respect to the issue of homelessness that has affected every neighborhood throughout the City of Los Angeles. Further, we support any measure to establish temporary homeless shelters to solve this crisis including the use of the DOT parking lot at 682 S. Vermont Avenue. We believe that the City should dedicate additional outreach effort to educate and raise awareness among local residents. Every neighborhood and community needs to participate throughout the City if we are to achieve the mandates of Proposition HHH and Measure H.
David K. Song
Board Chair
Korean Resource Cente