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Burbank chips in for homeless shelter

Burbank City Council members had some stern words for their Glendale counterparts this week when they agreed to allocate $20,000 to help bridge a $31,500 budget gap for the regional winter shelter program.

EIMAGO, a subsidiary of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, asked Burbank to contribute the money to help cover the cost of transporting homeless clients to the National Guard Armory in Glendale.

Glendale has hosted the Los Angeles County winter homeless shelter for more than 10 years, save for two years in Burbank.

During those two years, controversy arose over the shelter’s budget when Burbank officials believed a budget shortfall was not communicated in a timely manner, forcing them to scramble to allocate more funds to ensure the shelter remained open.

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“When asked if [Glendale] would chip in when we hosted [the winter shelter program], we got a big fat no,” Mayor Anja Reinke said. “So I’m a little bent about that, I guess.”

But officials said Glendale’s contribution to the county-funded winter shelter comes in other forms, including increased police patrols and paramedic responses.

Burbank’s money will also help with outreach services to local transients.

“Their money will fund a street outreach case manager in Burbank,” said Ivet Samvelyan, homeless coordinator in Glendale. “This will help educate the clients about the services available in the area.”

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EIMAGO expects to buy 3,590 bus tokens, at a cost of $3,590, for round-trip transportation Glendale from Burbank.

The Burbank pickup location has been moved from 451 N. Front St. under the Magnolia Boulevard overpass to the Downtown Metrolink Station.

Carrie Gatlin-Siqueiros, vice president of government relations for the rescue mission, planned to meet with representatives from both cities about outreach programs on Wednesday to distribute the bus tokens and promote services.

“We want to make sure we can outreach to the people who are the most vulnerable in Burbank,” she said, adding that she hopes all groups involved will be able to finalize the details prior to the Dec. 1 opening of the Glendale armory.

In approving the money last week, Burbank City Council members requested a detailed account of how it would be spent and how it would affect local clients.

Most of those served at the shelter last year were not from Glendale or Burbank, according to city reports.

About 11% lived in Glendale; 3.2% were from Burbank; 4.9% were from Pasadena, and 85.5% said they were from other areas, including Los Angeles, according to the reports.

Officials reported an increase in the number of homeless people who visited the shelter during the 2009-10 season, counting 914 people and 78 families, up from 549 individual clients and 27 families the year prior.

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The shelter could also face future budget shortfalls with record numbers of individuals and families requesting services.

“We certainly could [face a budget gap],” Gatlin-Siqueiros said. “It remains to be seen, and we need to wait and see how it works out.”

On Saturday, the Union Rescue Mission served a record 4,500 people on Saturday for its annual Thanksgiving meal. Last year the organization served just under 3,000 people, she said.

“It’s really a sign of the times,” Gatlin-Siqueiros said. “Even if they’re not necessarily on the street, people are in need of help like we’ve never seen before.”

The shelter is scheduled to remain open from Dec. 1 until March 15 and is located at 220 E. Colorado St. in Glendale.


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