From Skates to Shelter: Shuttered Rink To Become Transitional Housing

An iconic roller skating rink, closed during the pandemic, is being transformed into a bridge housing facility for unhoused Angelenos.

May 10, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up image of person skating on indoor roller rink

G.Tbov / Roller skating

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.”

Friday, May 6, 2022 in LAist

A conceptual rendering of three high-speed rail trains. The middle train is orange; the other two are black.

The California High-Speed Rail Project Illustrates America’s Transit Issues

Slow progress and a bloated budget have plagued the High-Speed Rail project linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, exposing deeper issues with American transit projects.

May 22, 2022 - Eric Carlson

Multi-Family Development

Density and Driving: A Second Look

A common argument against more compact housing is that increased population density will only reduce vehicle miles traveled at moderate levels of density, as opposed to very low-density and very high-density areas. But this might not be so.

May 22, 2022 - Michael Lewyn

Parent and child walking, holding hands on mixed-use trail with trees

What Role Does Health Care Play in Community Development?

Cities are economically diverse and require accessible health care systems, but this can be challenging to implement. Urban developers are working alongside health professionals to create affordable care for city residents.

May 18, 2022 - Devin Partida

Boise Idaho

Boise’s New Planning Director Warns Against 'Dysfunctional Highways'

On the heels of his stint as Atlanta’s planning director, Tim Keane says Boise should avoid following in the path of American cities that have let highway expansion and sprawl go unchecked for decades.

May 27 - Boise State Public Radio

Aerial view of single-family homes in Atlanta, Georgia suburb

Voters Reject Atlanta-Area Cityhood Proposals

After local activists whipped up concerns about forced density to promote cityhood for three wealthy Atlanta suburbs, residents voted to remain in unincorporated Cobb County.

May 27 - Bloomberg CityLab

A row of white pickup trucks at a car dealership.

Want to Drive a Big Pickup Truck in D.C.? It’s About to Get (Even More) Expensive

D.C. is considering a $500 vehicle license fee for private vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

May 27 - Bloomberg

Urban Planner

Environmental Science Associates

Land Use Field Representative - Culpeper County

Piedmont Environmental Council


City of Oakland, California

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.