October 5th’s online news featured a story about a homeless man raping a woman in Glendale. Whenever there is a story about a homeless person in Glendale, we naturally question whether that person was or is a client of Ascencia. Our privacy rules prohibit disclosure of client information so we can neither confirm nor deny that person’s status.
Our first priority is to ensure the safety of our clients, staff and volunteers. To do so, we take the following measures:
- Locked entrances to our main facility.
- All clients entering our shelter program at 1851 Tyburn Street must pass a background check for sex offense and violent criminal convictions.
- Any person exhibiting aggressive or violent behavior is not permitted on the premises and if deemed a threat to the community, we call the police. We are grateful for the Glendale Police Department’s consistent and professional response to Ascencia’s safety needs.
Some years Ascencia operates a winter shelter program. That program is funded through the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), which has rules that require operators to accept clients without conducting a background check. In the LAHSA-funded winter shelter program, all persons entering are searched for weapons and contraband, but we do not do a background screening per the requirements of our contract. As of this date, Ascencia is not contracted to run a winter shelter program for the 2016-17 season.
What the news reports tell us is that that accused perpetrator is homeless. They do not tell us whether the victim is homeless. The tragedy is that too often people living on the streets are subject to criminal acts ranging from theft, to rape, assault, and murder. Sometimes these crimes are committed by other homeless people, but often they are not.
My hope is that the alarm over this shocking and terrible crime will not deter us and our community from continuing to offer the vital help that our homeless residents need.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.