New Skid Row Shelter Full; Hundreds Still on Streets

Times Staff Writer

Attendance at the Los Angeles homeless shelter on Skid Row has climbed above 100 people, while hundreds of others sleep on sidewalks outside filled privately run missions nearby.

All available beds have been occupied since the shelter opened Tuesday, shelter operator Martha Brown Hicks said Friday. Seventy-six people slept inside the plywood structure on opening night, and new beds have been added nightly as more mattresses are delivered, she said.

Hicks, who is president of the Skid Row Development Corp., said the shelter should reach its capacity of 138 beds this weekend. Officials say the demand for beds in the Skid Row area exceeds the supply by at least several hundred.

Mayor Tom Bradley, praising the role of labor leader William Robertson in erecting the shelter, on Friday proposed naming the shelter Bill Robertson House. Robertson is executive secretary of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

Also Friday, Bradley and Ed Edelman, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, announced that they plan to endorse creation of a nonprofit corporation assigned to find long-term shelter for the county's thousands of homeless.

The group would be supported by city and county funds and by private groups such as United Way, which originated the idea, Bradley said.

Edelman said the county is legally responsible for the homeless and should join the city with financial support. But he said the decision would be made by the full Board of Supervisors, which has resisted cooperation with City Hall on aid for the homeless.

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