Ascencia presents data on homeless program

Since opening its doors on Dec. 1 for 92 nights, the Glendale emergency winter shelter, which for the first time in years took place at a location other than the National Guard Armory, has served 414 people, according to data released by shelter officials this week.

The shelter, organized by Glendale's largest homeless services provider, Ascencia, had two sites comprising 80 beds, but on some chilly nights, the capacity grew.

Last year's shelter, also organized by Ascencia, housed a total of 541 people.

Most of the clients stayed at a facility in an industrial area at 437 Fernando Court, which were once Ascencia's offices. An additional 10 stayed at Ascencia's new site on Tyburn Street on a per-night basis.

Jerome Nilssen, Ascencia's director of residential programs, described the Fernando Court location as successful, but it will not be used again next year as the nonprofit group's lease on the building is up.

"It turned out to be a good place to have a winter shelter," Nilssen said at a Glendale Homeless Coalition meeting on Tuesday at City Hall.

A future site for the Glendale emergency winter shelter is up in the air. However, Nilssen said he expects the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a joint powers group run by the city and county of Los Angeles, to put up funding for a Glendale site next winter.

While the shelter was open, officials said there were fewer incidents and complaints than at its former location near the Central Library, the Americana at Brand and the Adult Recreation Center. Still, some neighboring businesses' workers said theydisliked homeless people hanging out in their parking lots during non-shelter hours.

Of the 414 people served this past winter, 186 were chronically homeless, which means one has a disabling condition and has been homeless for a year or have experienced four bouts of homelessness within three years. A total of 156 were disabled, and 29 were veterans. The average age was 45, and 50 people — or 12% — came from Glendale.

"We're primarily seeing [homeless people from] Los Angeles County, that's where the majority come from," Nilssen said.

To date, 24 emergency winter shelter clients have moved into transitional housing, including another shelter run by Ascencia and Good Shepherd Shelter in Los Angeles.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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