Earlier in the year, the Salvation Army store at 6300 Sepulveda went out of business. The lot it occupied, building and parking lot, is some 45,000 square feet.

It sits along a row of Sepulveda that is seemingly zoned for only commercial use, even though it runs along a heavily traveled bus route and is but minutes from the Orange Line.

Salvation Army
Salvation Army, former location, now closed.

Here is an example of a critical issue that somehow escapes the gaze of Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Chief Design Officer Christopher Hawthorne, and Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Why are there unused or underused vast parcels of land in a place which is starved for housing, where homeless people roam without help, and people cannot find affordable housing?

The Mayor recently wrote an open letter to President Trump asking for more help on a variety of issues, including veterans who are without shelter:

“If you and your Administration would like to help Los Angeles and other American cities confront our homelessness crisis, I urge you to take the following actions immediately and work with America’s communities to bring all Americans home:

  • Support the bipartisan Fighting Homelessness Through Services & Housing Act, S. 923 and the End Homelessness Act, H.R. 1856 which further expand the housing safety net with new grants and mental health programs to help cities combat homelessness over the next five years;
  • Uphold the Veteran Administration’s vision to build at least 1,200 units of housing for homeless veterans on the West LA VA Campus by providing capital funding for new housing development and addressing the severe infrastructure needs of this federal land;
  • In your FY2021 Budget Request, build up the nation’s housing safety net and support higher appropriations for the programs that have been proven to solve homelessness and create economic opportunities for hard-working Americans. Some of those critical programs are: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Homeless Assistance Grants, HUD’s block grant programs (HOME, CDBG, HOPWA, and ESG), HUD’s project-based and tenant-based rental assistance programs (including HUD-VASH), capital and operating funds for the nation’s dwindling supply of public housing, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program;
  • Rescind HUD’s proposed rules to evict mixed-status immigrant families from assisted housing and prevent transgender homeless people from accessing federally funded shelters; and
  • Protect critical fair housing laws by upholding the previous administration’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” and “Disparate Impact” rules.”

Yet nobody in this city or nation imagines that anything will come from President Trump to “end homelessness.” Asking President Trump to accept funding “mixed-status immigrant” families with Federal money? Is it possible Mayor Garcetti actually believes that undocumented immigrants will also find federal housing money from the Trump administration? And transgender persons?

The second largest city in the United States has an extreme shortage of housing and the the Mayor puts the needs of “undocumented” residents and transgenders at the top of his list of federal funding requests?

The tragedy of Los Angeles is that it has no leadership and no courage, and it only pays lip service to trendy, lefty, wacky pleas rather than mounting the Herculean task of building massive amounts of housing through free market methods. We don’t need to house every person from other countries who end up in Los Angeles by using federal money. Is that wrong to say? Does it make sense that American taxpayers are asked to fund the disastrous policies and ideologies of this city and state?

We need, as a city and a state, to get moving to build on land which is badly underused, which sits along public transit lines, which could be remade as many thousand units of housing. It’s called re-zoning, and we need to open up and liberate land so that more development can come in and we can build denser, taller, higher apartments to flood the market in California with cheaper housing.

Writer/photographer

One Comment on “One Story Town, Again

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