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The owner of the iconic Sears building in Boyle Heights has scaled back a controversial proposal to house homeless people there, reducing the number of beds from 10,000 to 2,500.
Many community members remained deeply upset by the new proposal, with some likening it to a “concentration camp” or “Manzanar” at a raucous four-hour online meeting Thursday and a protest the day before.
Homeless people from the neighborhood would be first in line for the 2,500 beds, said project spokesperson Leandro Chaya, with senior citizens, LBGTQ+ youths, veterans and families next on the list.
“We have an opportunity to help the Boyle Heights community and the homeless population,” Chayra, son of El Mercadito co-founder Arturo Chayra, said before the meeting. “Everyone says they want to help, but they don’t come up with plans. Here, we have a plan.”