As I stood in front of the crowd of about 100 people at the Glendale winter shelter, I thought, “THIS is where the elected officials need to be!” Not at the opening of the shelter, when we are full of hope and relief, but at the end, when we have to tell these men and women there are no more days left.
“What do we do now?” I am asked.
My response feels weak. I encourage them all to return to Ascencia for services, knowing that we are overwhelmed with people wanting help. I think about the promise of Section 8 vouchers we were recently awarded – with no certainty about when. So I don’t mention them.
I have a love/hate relationship with winter shelter. I am grateful for the opportunity to keep our guests safe for the night, but resent how little we have to work with to move them quickly into a home.
We are told resources are forthcoming. With winter now over, those resources can’t come quickly enough.
Despite my grousing, the Winter Shelter is an excellent example of how people from far-ranging agencies and purposes can come together to do good.
Ascencia’s winter shelter programs were made possible by the outstanding commitment of both temporary and permanent Ascencia staff, financial and technical support from three cities, the County and a joint powers authority. Many thanks to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority staff who processed our grants so quickly, and patiently provided support; to the City of Glendale and in particular to Councilman Gharpetian for securing the property, and to Ivet Samvelyan of Community Services and Parks, and Steve Koszis of the Glendale Police Department fielding community issues and working with us to address them. We thank the personnel of Glendale Police and Fire for responding quickly and professionally to calls for service. We also thank the Burbank HealthCare Foundation and Avery Dennison Foundation for their support, as well as our corporate partners like Anoush Catering in Glendale. Thank you also to all of our volunteers and Guest Chefs!
The Glendale Winter Shelter closed today. The Highland Park shelter, with 35 beds (pews, actually) is open for tonight and will close tomorrow. More on that program in our next post.
Thank you everyone,
Natalie Profant Komuro