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VAN NUYS : Residents Block Homeless Shelter

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Plans to locate a homeless shelter in Van Nuys have been put on hold after more than 100 residents turned out at a community meeting to protest the project.

“It’s very important to have the community on your side,” said Nat Hutton, executive director of the nonprofit L.A. Family Housing Corp. “But (the project) is clearly something (those at the meeting) do not want to happen.”

The L.A. Family Housing Corp. operates the Valley’s largest shelter, the Trudy and Norman Louis Valley Shelter in North Hollywood. In Van Nuys, the agency wants to set up a 150-bed shelter in a vacant building at 7447 Sepulveda Blvd. to be called Sepulveda Center. The agency sometimes uses the building now as a homeless shelter in wet weather.

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After Thursday’s meeting at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Van Nuys, Hutton said the agency may look at possible sites for a large shelter in other communities.

“There is an increasing need to help families who are homeless,” he said, claiming that Los Angeles County’s homeless population rose 13% between 1991 and 1992. Of the estimated 43,000 to 77,000 homeless people in the county, as many as 5,000 are in the San Fernando Valley, Hutton said.

As it has been proposed, Sepulveda Center would provide six-month transitional housing for about 25 families and 50 individuals. It would also offer social services and amenities, such as an outdoor children’s play area and community room. No parolees would be allowed to live in the building, Hutton said.

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