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California

Glendale opens winter homeless shelter

Shelter off San Fernando Road in Glendale

Map locates Glendale winter shelter, at 1219 Los Angeles St., for the homeless.

(Los Angeles Times)

For the first time in two years, Glendale is hosting a nightly winter shelter for the homeless, ahead of heavy rains expected to be brought on by El Niño storms.

The 80-bed facility, set up in a 44,000-square-foot warehouse at 1219 Los Angeles St., operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The program will run every night through March 31, offering free meals and a warm place to sleep.

Ascencia, Glendale’s largest homeless services agency, will oversee the shelter and offer help such as case management, counseling, psychiatric services and drug and alcohol recovery referrals and placement. Eventually, Ascencia hopes to provide permanent housing to those who use the shelter.

With a wet winter predicted, having a place for homeless to stay overnight will help keep their lives from worsening because of El Niño, said Natalie Komuro, the agency’s executive director.

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“The people who use this program are very vulnerable,” she said. “They tend to be pretty sickly. It’s even worse for them not to have an option … when they could be susceptible to the wet weather.”

Five homeless people died on the streets of Glendale last year.

A winter shelter was formerly open in the Glendale National Guard Armory on the edge of downtown, but that location generated complaints from the adjacent Adult Recreation Center and nearby retailers.

The Los Angeles Street location in the San Fernando Road corridor includes a large parking lot, so gatherings of people won’t spill out onto local streets, said Jess Duran, the city’s community services director.

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“For this type of use, it’s better than a downtown location, and it’s still very accessible to bus lines and people coming into the area if they’re not local,” he said.

Councilman Vartan Gharpetian reached out to the owners of the property, who were receptive to housing a temporary homeless shelter.

“We need to take care of people that are less fortunate than us,” Gharpetian said. “Especially during this time of year, there’s a huge need. We don’t want to just send them somewhere else.”

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which funds contracts to operate winter shelters, has contributed $219,000 so far to run the Glendale site through next spring, Komuro said.

Glendale chipped in more than $40,000 to get the shelter running, Duran said.

Komuro said she’s already seen familiar faces at the shelter, including those who’ve lived on the streets for more than five years.

“You’re not happy to see they’re still in need of help, but we’re happy that we’re here for them and provide them with these services,” Komuro said. “Hopefully, by the end of the season, if not sooner, we’ve got them in a permanent home and on their own.”

arin.mikailian@latimes.com

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Mikailian writes for Times Community News.


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