Yes, Burbank has a homeless population. And this week, the city took concrete steps to allow organizations to step in and address the problem.
The Planning Board endorsed changes to the code that would make it easier for organizations to set up homeless shelters in mostly industrial-commercial areas of the city by cutting the red tape that has so far made those efforts a nonstarter.
That’s been a problem in more ways than one. For starters, making it nearly impossible to get the zoning permits needed for such an operation violates state law. And the city hasn’t been doing the community any favors erecting a high hurdle because, despite what some may like to think, Burbank has largely unmet need when it comes to sheltering the homeless.
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, 220 homeless people in Burbank have no local shelter options. Even when the National Guard Armory hosts the winter shelter, Burbank still has an unmet need of 70 beds, according to the county agency.
It serves no one to continue to turn our backs on that need. When the code changes reach the City Council in the coming weeks, they should not only be approved, but officials should be directed to actively court an outside organization to come in and fulfill the need.
Even if the city doesn’t immediately meet the entire need for shelter beds, it will go a long way in putting us on the path to rectifying a problem that has been ignored for far too long.