Winter shelter reaches limit

DOWNTOWN — The winter shelter at the Glendale Armory has been reaching its 150-bed capacity almost every day due to the colder temperatures and the holidays, officials said.

Average attendance during the shelter’s first week, which opened Dec. 1, was about 50 people, but that number has since soared with increasingly chilly weather conditions, officials said.

“Over the holidays, we are serving over 150 persons and we are getting more families,” said Ivet Samvelyan, the city’s homeless services coordinator.

The shelter generally reaches capacity during the holiday season. After the holidays, attendance averages about 120 to 130 people, Samvelyan said.

Homeless men and women who go to the shelter receive meals and warm blankets. On Tuesday, they got free shoes as part of donation to the shelter’s operator, EMAIGO, a subsidiary of the Union Rescue of Los Angeles.

Families who used the shelter were given vouchers, which allowed them to stay the night at a hotel. Families are also connected to PATH Achieve case workers who help them find permanent housing options.

“We’re seeing a lot of new homeless families that have been impacted by the economy,” Samvelyan said.

Organizers haven’t been able to get local hotels to accept the vouchers, so case workers have had to drive the families to a hotel in North Hills, said Natalie Profant Komuro, PATH Achieve Glendale’s executive director.

“We tried very hard to get a local hotel, and none would do it,” she said.

A single mother and her 8-year-old son, along with a couple and their newborn twins, were placed in shelters at PATH Achieve and the Dream Center in Los Angeles, said Mark Horvath, an outreach case manager.

The single mother is actively looking for a job in the entertainment industry, he said.

“The other family was down on their luck,” Horvath said.

Because the shelter doesn’t open its doors until 5 p.m., some clients go to work during the day and others try to use the city’s services, such as going to local libraries and the Adult Recreation Center.

“We haven’t received any concerns or complaints from any of the businesses or the area departments or organizations that are involved,” he said. “I think this year it is going a lot smoother and clients are all following the rules and happy to be apart of the program.”

On Monday, police arrested a 28-year-old transient woman outside the Glendale Central Library after she allegedly punched a 21-year-old as he exited a Glendale Beeline bus, said Sherri Servillo, a Glendale police community service officer.

The man placed the woman under private citizen’s arrest until police arrived, she said.

Police don’t know whether the woman was staying at the winter shelter, Servillo said.


Get in touch VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@ latimes.com.

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