West Covina, Calif., has been undergoing a revitalization, with new stuccoed buildings with splashy signs announcing a host of recently arrived chain stores and restaurants. The Los Angeles Times reports that the city is balking at accepting one addition: a homeless shelter as part of a plan to reduce the concentration of the homeless in downtown L.A.’s skid row. West Covina officials and some residents say their town has its share of homeless people. Why ruin their downtown, residents say, so that downtown L.A. can improve?
“You should get one of the high-rises in L.A. and help people,” suggested Jorge Morfin of West Covina. The reactions in the city of 111,000 offer a reality check of sorts for county leaders who want to move homeless services out of downtown Los Angeles and into the suburbs. The West Covina Access Center is among 14 homeless drop-in centers that the county is considering for conversion into full-service shelters open around the clock. Five such centers are planned.