Changes coming to ASL

The Friendship Shelter will pick up some of the slack in services at the Alternative Sleeping Location when the Laguna Relief and Resource Center pulls out Friday, but it will come at a cost to the city.

The City Council voted Tuesday to pay the Friendship Shelter an additional $31,535 to staff the facility from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m., seven days a week, and provide van services for the rest of the fiscal year.

Daytime operations and transportation had been provided by the center, which paid $340 a month for the use of the facility for its programs and $570 a month for utilities.

"I didn't want to apologize, but I do sympathize with [the council] having to deal with the expense," said Andy Siegenfeld, chairman of the center's board. "We simply couldn't maintain the operation."

City officials said they were pleased that the center would continue to operate its pantry, a facility that supplies clothing and food to needy folks.

"We couldn't have gotten along the last couple of years without the [center], and we thank Friendship Shelter for stepping up," Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson said.

The amended contract with the Friendship Shelter, which previously had supervised only nighttime operations, extends weekday morning hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

"That will provide time for showers and laundry," said Susan Cannan, the city's director of community services.

Community Assistance grant funds and revenue from artist-designed parking meters will be diverted from the center to the Friendship Shelter to cover the $20,000 for the extended hours until July 1.

The $25,000 for the van service will be paid out of carryover funds, but a funding source must be identified for the transportation after this fiscal year.

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