Farmhouse Will Be a Home for the Homeless : Poor: Glendale contributes grant money to the Salvation Army to set up the city’s first shelter for homeless families.


The Glendale City Council allocated $200,000 in federal grant money Tuesday toward purchase of a quaint farmhouse that will serve as the first shelter for homeless families in Glendale.

The funds were approved on a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Jerold Milner absent. Officials said the farmhouse will serve as a short-term home for small families that are temporarily down on their luck.

It will not be used to house single transients or victims of drug and alcohol addiction, who will continue to be referred to local motels or to shelters outside the city, officials said.

The federal funds were allocated by the council to the Glendale Salvation Army to pay part of the $460,000 purchase price of a 94-year-old, two-story house at 609 Chester St. The Salvation Army will pay the balance from its own funds, with the sale to be completed June 26.


Lt. Ken Hodder of the Salvation Army told council members Tuesday that the agreement is “the culmination of more than two years of blood, sweat, tears and prayers” in their search for a shelter for the growing number of homeless families in Glendale.

The charity last year provided housing, food, clothing and other assistance to more than 13,500 needy people, about 70% of whom were displaced families, usually from Glendale, Hodder said in an earlier interview.

The Chester Street house, called the Booth House, is located just south of the Ventura Freeway and east of San Fernando Road in a quiet neighborhood of mixed older family homes, duplexes and apartment buildings.

It will be used to shelter families without charge for up to six months while they work to save enough money to rent private housing elsewhere, said Madalyn Blake, director of community development and housing.

The Victorian-style house, built in 1896, has seven bedrooms, two living rooms, two dining rooms and four baths. No more than four small families will be housed at a time, using five of the bedrooms. The total number of occupants will be about 16, including an on-site supervisor for the Salvation Army, Blake said.

Neighbors had expressed concerns about the proposed shelter’s location in a residential area, but last week Salvation Army and city officials met with them to allay their fears. Because the shelter’s residents would be limited to a small number of working families, officials said it would pose no problems for the neighborhood.

The house was to have become the city’s first bed-and-breakfast inn under an ordinance adopted last year. However, the current owners, Martha Skinner and her husband, Richard Sanchez, who renovated the farmhouse after they purchased it 1 1/2 years ago, said a job relocation is forcing them to move.

Hodder said the Salvation Army has applied for a $450,000 federal grant to operate the shelter for the next five years. The program is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.

The funds allocated for the shelter Tuesday are part of the city’s share of $1.7 million in annual federal block grant money for the current fiscal year, used to provide public social services and to improve community facilities, housing and neighborhoods.

In separate action Tuesday, the council also allocated the city’s $1.7 million in block grant funds for the next fiscal year beginning July 1.

A total of $105,000 was set aside for local social services, including child-abuse treatment, child-care assistance, programs and services for youth, elderly and homeless people as well as newly arriving immigrants.

Positive Directions, a nonprofit organization that provides alcohol and drug counseling, will receive $7,500 to replace air-conditioning and heating units at its facility. Improvements also are scheduled at the Sparr Heights Park to provide access for the handicapped, at a cost of $12,500.

The city’s building code enforcement program and rehabilitation loan program was allocated $350,000 to provide for the improvement of about 700 substandard houses and apartments next year.

More than $900,000 was set aside to continue the city’s 5-year-old neighborhood beautification project in the southern part of the city. As part of the program, old water pipes are being replaced, streets resurfaced and landscaped, graffiti removed and street lights added to alleys in high-crime areas.

The city’s annual cost of administering the federal block grant program--estimated at $350,000--is included in the grant allocation.