Watch CBS News

Homeless On Olvera Street Moving Into Temporary Housing As Merchants Complain

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  --  On a street near Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles, there are a series of tents put up by the homeless.

Soon, there will be temporary housing for them, and the city thinks that's a good thing.

As KCAL9's Peter Daut reports many merchants do not.

At the oldest street in Los Angeles, the city's newest plan to help the homeless has some vendors outraged.

"We already have problems as it is; we don't need more problems," said Guillermo Garcia of La Noche Buena.

Friday, the City Council unanimously approved the plan to temporarily house dozens of homeless people just a few blocks from Olvera Street.

Several trailers containing bathrooms, showers and 60 beds will soon be placed on a city-owned parking lot.

The facility is expected to cost more than $2 million to build and more than$1 million each year to operate.

"Somebody has to come up with a better plan than this," said David Solorzano, manager of La Luz Del Dia restaurant.

He says the high concentration of homeless people has already hurt business at the tourist destination, and he worries the new shelter will make the problems even worse.

"It's a difficult situation. I know that they're human beings and they need help. Here is not the right venue for the help to be provided," Solorzano said.

But Mayor Eric Garcetti is defending his plan. He believes it will ultimately help get people off the street and into permanent housing.

He spoke at a rally Friday to stop homelessness.

"It's not a choice of bringing homeless people to your neighborhood or not; they're there. You want to keep them off the street or bring them home. So from Boyle Heights, to Downtown to the westside, to San Fernando Valley, we're finding those allies and we're pushing. And as mayor, I won't accept no," Garcetti said.

If the plan is successful, Garcetti hopes to add similar trailers throughout the city. But if it fails, merchants fear it could ruin their livelihoods.

"We're a business. We're trying to make a living," says Solorzano.

The trailers are expected to go up by this summer and again -- they're only supposed to be temporary, until the city can build permanent housing for the homeless, funded by measure HHH that was approved by voters.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.