Koreatown. It is a town in Los Angeles where many Koreans began immigrating to in the 1960s. Many have immigrated to find a new job and have a fresh start. These past decades, many Koreans have brought their culture and traditions to America which ultimately formed Koreatown. This town would not exist today if it were not for these people who have shared and cultivated their traditions.
These past few months, there has been a proposal by the Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti in which he plans to fund temporary homeless shelters. Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson stated that he has found several locations to build a temporary homeless shelter. Of these locations is a city-owned parking lot in the heart of Koreatown. There has been mixed responses from both sides. Some people of Koreatown are not happy about how this plan was announced and carried out while others are supportive of it. This specific Wilshire and Vermont location has been controversial because there are logical arguments from both sides.
People who are supportive of this new plan say that this shelter can house many homeless people who are scattered throughout Koreatown. This temporary housing can allow these homeless people off the streets at least until a permanent housing is secured. The supporters are saying how if homeless people are removed from the streets, the town would look better and cleaner. Additionally, they say that it is safer to have many homeless people gathered in one place.
On the other side are people who are not opposed to the plan, but instead want to hear and talk it out. They wish to converse with the Los Angeles City Council and decide on a location for the shelter together and decide if it will affect the environment. Some say that the shelter is being built too close to schools which could pose a threat to the students. They want to see and review if the location is appropriate for a homeless shelter. Other areas had a public hearing, but many are saying how there was no public hearing for Koreatown. Some people are also suggesting how the City Council should consult more with the residents of Koreatown and that the way they carried out the plan was not democratic.
Although this temporary homeless shelter is causing a stir, people should not forget how this town was built. It goes back decades and the people of this town all want what is best for their community. Emory University student and Koreatown native, Justin Kim has stated, “I do not support or disapprove of the shelter itself, but I do disapprove of the way the information regarding the shelter was handled. It was never properly revealed to the public before plans were set in motion. Therefore, the community did not have a chance to voice its concerns.” As this ongoing debate occurs, people can only hope that an agreeable solution is reached.
Jennie Kim, Grade 11
Immaculate Heart High School