Bonin Proposes Shelters as a “Matter of Right”

This encampment is a block from bridge housing in Venice (white building in the background). If Councilman Mike Bonin’s new motion passes, homeless housing could be put on any City land and in residential neighborhoods.

Councilman Mike Bonin and Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Marqueece Harris Dawson on February 9, introduced a motion in the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, that has now gone to the Planning and Land Use Committee in increase housing for the homeless.

Many CTN readers probably skimmed over the motion in Bonin’s newsletter “Let People Help” that said that zoning should be changed to allow churches, synagogues and mosques to take in homeless during the “shelter-bed” crisis.

Basically, it doesn’t seem like the City would object to a religious institution helping someone who is less fortunate or need a motion to do that. Numerous people commented (cityclerk.lacity/org – city council file 22-0158) saying it was a good idea.

BUT that’s not what the motion is about.

A reader needs to go beyond the headline and carefully examine the last three paragraphs. Specifically, the motion asks for a report about allowing the homeless housed in R1 (single family).

The motion asks that L.A. City Planning amend Sections 12.03, 12.80, and 12.81 of the LAMC to allow “shelters for the homeless” and other forms of interim housing to be established. It also ask that shelters be allowed on City properties located outside of R3, RAS3, R4, RAS4, RS, C2, C4, CS, CM, Ml, M2, and M3 zones during a declared shelter crisis.

Currently homeless shelters are mostly found in multi-family zones (RD, R3, R4, and R5), commercial zones (CR, C1, C1.5, C2, C4, C5, and CM) and manufacturing zones (M1 and M2).

This motion, if passed through the City Council, would allow the homeless in accessory dwelling units (12.03) in residential areas.

What are Sections 12.03, 12.80 and 12.81 that Bonin is asking to have amended?

Section 12.03 is for Accessory Dwelling Units, which are an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as a single-family dwelling.

Section 12.80 Homeless Shelter—during a shelter crisis a shelter for the homeless maybe established and operated on property owned by the City in any zone as a matter of right. No, no one will have to ask a resident permission to put a shelter on a park.

Section 12.81 Homeless Shelters – Emergencies – Charitable Organizations – if the City declares a shelter crisis, then any religious institution or nonprofit may open a shelter for the homeless on its property of any size “without regard to the number of beds or number of persons served.”

But Councilman Mike Bonin wasn’t finished with homeowners, yet. Maybe he was thinking to the failed bridge housing in Venice. The last paragraph of the motion reads “to allow existing and new emergency temporary shelters to extend their operation or be made permanent.”

The Pacific Palisades Community Council wrote to oppose the motion, as did the Brentwood Community Council, and Venice and Mar Vista’s Neighborhood Councils. Brentwood Glen and Brentwood Homeowner’s Association also opposed the motion.

People should send in comments via the City Clerk public comment portal: Type your name, council file number 22-0158 and a comment.

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