A $48-million bridge housing facility will soon take shape on an empty lot near Union Station, following a vote taken on September 28 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

The four-acre property, located at 1060 N. Vignes Street, was identified as an opportunity site for either interim of permanent supportive housing in 2019.  The County had previously intended to develop the land with a new parking garage for Men's Central Jail, as part of a now-scuttled plan to rebuild the facility.

Now, prompted by a June settlement agreement in which the County and City of Los Angeles agreed to build 6,000 new shelter beds for homeless persons vulnerable to COVID-19 or living near freeways, a short-term vision for the property is coming to fruition.

The plan approved by the Board of Supervisors calls for the construction of an approximately 60,000-square-foot building - comprised of prefabricated modular units - consisting of 232 interim housing units.  Additionally, the project would include a 6,000-square-foot resource building featuring dining areas and offices for the shelter provider, which would also be responsible for administering supportive services to residents.  Landscaped courtyards and parking for staff and residents is also planned.

Funding for the project includes $42 million allocated to Los Angeles County under the Federal CARES Act, coupled with $6 million in interim housing pool funds.

Under the plan approved by the Board of Supervisors, the City of Los Angeles is expected to cover operating costs for the facility through June 2025.  The City would pay up to $55 per bed, per day under the proposed arrangement.

Plans to move forward with interim housing at the Vignes Street site were motivated in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 1st District Supervisor Hilda Solis, who introduced the motion which called for the project's approval.

“Homelessness is the moral and humanitarian crisis of our time, and unfortunately, the COVID-19 economic downturn has heightened the demand for more affordable housing,” said Solis in a prepared statement. “We need to rapidly build more housing units to provide stable shelter for people experiencing homelessness. My resolve is stronger than ever to help people who need access to affordable housing. It is in line with our commitment to pursue a care first, jail last model of support for our most vulnerable residents.”

While the current project is intended as interim housing, the Vignes Street property could include permanent supportive housing at a later date, according to a news release distributed by the 1st Supervisorial District.

Another Chinatown property once intended for Men's Central Jail parking, located near the intersection of Spring and Alpine Streets, is also slated for an affordable or supportive housing development.

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