An iconic roller skating rink, closed during the pandemic, is being transformed into a bridge housing facility for unhoused Angelenos.
A former roller skating rink in northwest Los Angeles county will provide a bridge shelter for 107 unhoused residents, writes David Wagner for LAist. “The nonprofit [Hope of the Valley] bought the property in March 2021 and spent about $7 million transforming it into a shelter that will begin accepting residents on May 17. The shelter will be the first bridge housing facility in City Council District 12, represented by councilman John Lee.”
Originally built in 1958, Skateland operated for decades as a popular hangout for locals and stars alike until its closing during COVID-19. Now, Hope of the Valley is transforming the facility into a welcoming, comfortable space to help people transition to permanent housing.
While they can provide crucial emergency shelter, bridge housing is an unpopular option among unhoused people. “RAND found that less than half of unhoused Angelenos would accept a spot in bridge housing (44% of survey respondents) or group shelters (31%). The respondents strongly preferred permanent stays in hotel rooms or supportive housing, with around 80% saying they would accept such offers.”
Hope of the Valley aims to reduce some of the barriers. “That’s why residents will be allowed to bring pets. Couples can enter the shelter together (though they will sleep on opposite sides of the gender-segregated facility). Residents can also keep contraband forbidden inside the shelter stored in lockers outside the facility,” says Rowan Vansleve, president of Hope of the Valley. “Vansleve said on-site mental health service workers and housing navigators will work with residents to help them transition to permanent housing, no small challenge given L.A.’s severe lack of affordable housing and the increasingly strict screening practices of local landlords.”
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