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Proposal To House Skid Row Homeless At Cecil Hotel Gets Yanked Amongst Opposition

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A proposal to turn hundreds of units at Downtown’s Cecil Hotel into housing for the homeless has been withdrawn.

Downtown business leaders and social services providers as well as Los Angeles County supervisor Gloria Molina opposed the project, the Los Angeles Times reports. Opponents claim the neighborhood is already oversaturated with homeless housing and services, and that it only makes things worse.

According to Roxane Marquez, Molina’s press deputy:

“Supervisor Molina's strong opinion is that the skid row area is the way it is because of an over-concentration of services. Our goal is to regionalize homeless services.”
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The project entailed making 384 mostly empty rooms in the 15-story building on Main Street into housing for the homeless, with on-site counseling and mental health treatment. Additionally, it would have made 75 units rented at market rates and another 75 rented at reduced rates.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services proposed the project along with Home For Good, which is a united effort by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce to battle chronic and veteran homelessness.

Supporters say the project could have saved taxpayers millions of dollars in care for the homeless, which is typically provided in emergency rooms. A similar project helped out in Times Square in New York.

Meanwhile, opponents say homeless people should be dispersed, not fathered at Skid Row where substance abuse and drug dealers are rampant. Says developer Tom Gilmore, whose residential and retail project at 4th and Main Streets is credited with helping revive the neighborhood with trendy stores and bars: “It’s like having an AA meeting in a bar.”

Though the project was withdrawn in an early stage, Jerry Neuman, co-chair of Home For Good, says they’ll still continue to fight in other ways to achieve their timeline of ending chronic and veteran homelessness in L.A. by 2016.

Photos: How Skid Row Has Changed Over 30 Years