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L.A. Moves Forward With Plan to Build Housing for Homeless on Echo Park Lot

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Los Angeles is pressing forward with a bitterly contested plan to put housing for the homeless on an Echo Park lot, defying the objections of a local nonprofit and a councilman who denounced the move as an attack on the Latino community.

“We’re already being attacked by the Trump administration, and now we’re being attacked by our local City Council member,” El Centro del Pueblo program director Fernando Chacon told reporters ahead of the Wednesday vote, flanked by politicians and supporters in red T-shirts that declared “Save Our Playground.”

The Echo Park land has been leased by the nonprofit El Centro del Pueblo, which provides youth and family services aimed at preventing gang violence, for recreational space including basketball and handball courts. L.A. officials say the space could accommodate as many as 98 units of housing because it is zoned for taller buildings than other nearby lots.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, billed it as a prime opportunity to house vulnerable people and argued that the city could incorporate recreational space into the new project.

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