CITY LAB REPORT--This week, senior Trump administration officials are making their way to Los Angeles as part of the president’s high-profile promise to intervene in California’s homelessness crisis.
Federal officials are discussing the possibility of razing encampments and relocating hundreds or thousands of unhoused people—tactics that homeless advocates insist have no legal grounds under federal law.
One option under discussion is to use a former government building just outside Los Angeles to house (or detain) people now living in Skid Row in downtown L.A., where some 8,000 to 11,000 people are typically living on the streets. Federal officials have already reportedly toured the facility, the former West Coast headquarters of the Federal Aviation Administration, located 20 miles away in Hawthorne, California.
But a review of public records shows that the government previously rejected two efforts by advocacy groups to use the former Federal Aviation Administration building to serve the homeless.
Repurposing federal properties to provide homeless services isn’t a new or unprecedented idea: In fact, federal law already requires the government to make unused properties available to advocacy organizations that provide shelter or services to the homeless. Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, the federal government must list surplus properties for consideration by shelter providers in a searchable database. A provision known as Title V states that properties must be made available—for no charge—to nonprofit groups, faith-based charities, local housing agencies, and other providers before they can be sold. (Read the rest.) [