Olvera Street Merchants Question Mayor Garcetti’s Plan to Shelter Homeless Nearby

Ginette Rondeau says she wants the city to help the homeless people who live near her Olvera Street store, looking for food and sleeping on the sidewalks.

David Solorzano, manager at La Luz del Dia restaurant at Olvera Street, asks a panhandler to leave on March 7, 2018. Merchants are upset about the mayor's plan to house homeless people in trailers on a city-owned parking lot at Arcadia and Alameda streets for up to three years. The City Council is expected to approve the plan on March 9. (Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Time)

David Solorzano, manager at La Luz del Dia restaurant at Olvera Street, asks a panhandler to leave on March 7, 2018. Merchants are upset about the mayor’s plan to house homeless people in trailers on a city-owned parking lot at Arcadia and Alameda streets for up to three years. The City Council is expected to approve the plan on March 9. (Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Time)

But Rondeau and dozens of other vendors are critical of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan for a new temporary homeless shelter blocks from the tourist destination. More homeless people will come, hurting business for the merchants who sell ponchos, colorful dresses and trinkets to busloads of tourists and schoolchildren, Rondeau said.

She questioned why El Pueblo de Los Angeles — the historic area that houses Olvera Street — was picked for the 60-person shelter, rather than another location popular with tourists.

“How come Chinatown isn’t having this?” Rondeau said. “Or Little Tokyo?”

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