Del Rey community leaders, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Home Depot officials are collaborating to propose plans to improve accommodations for day laborers who gather near the home improvement store on Jefferson Boulevard in Del Rey.
The officials say they are considering short-term solutions, such as making the pickup/drop-off site near the Jefferson Boulevard and Alla Road store more visible, as well as more long-term plans, including providing benches and bathrooms at an adjacent property.
The proposals come after the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance in August that requires new home improvement stores of at least 100,000 square feet in the city to obtain a conditional use permit. The permit could require the stores with an existing laborer population to create a day laborer facility on site that is equipped with drinking water, toilets, tables and trash cans.
Currently the ordinance is applied to “big-box” home improvement stores that will be built or are undergoing major renovations. City Councilman Bernard Parks, who proposed the law, has noted that the ordinance could lead to requiring existing stores, such as the Home Depot in Del Rey, to provide the day laborer shelters.
Parks has said the law can help the city manage and mitigate day labor concerns at home improvement stores. Rosendahl said he is working to ensure the laborers who gather near the Home Depot on Jefferson Boulevard are accommodated as they wait for work, while addressing the concerns of the store.
“I have great respect for the day laborers,” Rosendahl said. “I want them to have their dignity, [and] shade, and I want them to be treated with respect.”
Rosendahl noted that the Del Rey store, located in his 11th Council District, is considered to be one of the company’s most successful stores in the country.
The councilman met with some Home Depot officials and Del Rey Neighborhood Council president Mark Redick earlier this month to discuss short-term solutions for improving the site for the waiting workers. Such plans include painting the curb yellow on Alla Road to identify the pickup/drop-off zone, installing signage for the zone and providing portable toilets.
“It’s a temporary strategy that seems to make sense,” Rosendahl said.
The community and company leaders also addressed more long-term solutions, including using a 7,000-square-foot city property that is adjacent to the store with street furniture, restrooms and drinking water sources. According to police, complaints regarding the day laborers congregating in the area have decreased significantly, the councilman said.
Rosendahl lauded the cooperation of Home Depot officials in trying to come to a workable plan for both the laborers and company.
“I’m very impressed with Home Depot’s leadership, which has been very positive and supportive,” he said.
Home Depot government relations manager Francisco Uribe said the company had serious concerns with the city law when the ordinance was passed in August and requested that a more comprehensive law be developed. The law should apply only to new home improvement stores and should not discourage existing stores from making improvements, Uribe wrote to the City Council.
Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher said the company is “making progress” with the day laborer situation at the Jefferson Boulevard store after meeting with Rosendahl’s office to discuss the issue.
“Home Depot is very pleased to be partnering with the city councilman’s office, local law enforcement and the nonprofit Day Laborer Network to come up with a solution for the community,” Gallagher said. “It shows that the community is working together and we’re happy to be involved and sitting at the table.”
Redick of the Del Rey Neighborhood Council said he does not believe the home improvement stores benefit by having the laborers in the area and they should not be obligated to build day labor facilities.
“I don’t think any business, unless they’re somehow profiting from this, should be forced to pay for this,” he said.
But the Neighborhood Council president said the community needs to address the issue because “as long as there’s work [the laborers] are going to be there,” and he commended Rosendahl and Home Depot for working together.
Referring to the proposed short-term plans, Redick said that having a designated pickup point on Alla Road for the workers will reduce the number of vehicles in the area and reduce the chance for a collision.
Rosendahl said he plans to meet with Home Depot representatives in April to review the proposals, including the long-term plan for a facility on the adjacent city property.