Out of options and with time running out, organizers say they will be unable to offer winter shelter for the homeless in Glendale.
Last year’s 80-bed shelter operated in an industrial neighborhood of the city for three months and was organized by Ascencia, the city’s largest homeless services provider. But the location is no longer available for a short-term lease, said Natalie Profant Komuro, executive director of the group.
The nonprofit struggled to find another viable site in the city that was big enough and had enough bathrooms, among other necessities, Komuro said.
“There’s not a lot of properties that fit that description … we were not able to find a location that would work,” she said.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which funds the shelter program, didn’t support another alternative — operating a smaller shelter at Ascencia’s own access center, Komuro said.
The lack of winter shelter will have no impact on any of Ascencia’s existing operations, which include providing housing and other support services for the homeless.
For more than a decade, a roughly 150-bed shelter was made available each year at the Glendale National Guard Armory on Colorado Boulevard.
But the influx of homeless drew complaints from patrons at the Glendale Central Library, the Adult Recreation Center and nearby retailers.
To minimize the impact, Glendale broke from the county program in 2011 and spent roughly $150,000 in combination with the city of Burbank to run a smaller shelter, which was limited to local transients.
When money ran out, Ascencia took the reins the following year and oversaw the shelter at the armory for one last year until it was moved to the industrial neighborhood on Fernando Court.
Ascencia approached the city with the request of using the armory again, but Community Services Director Jess Duran said the city was opposed.
Komuro said she understands why the city wouldn’t want to get involved again, as only 12% of people who used the shelter were actually from Glendale.
She noted that city officials did help Ascencia search for another location.
The winter shelters closest to Glendale this year will be in Sylmar and Pacoima from Dec. 1 through March 15.
November 27, 2014
Los Angeles Times