LA County leaders approve winter shelter beds amid Antelope Valley’s homeless ‘crisis’

More than 200 emergency winter shelter beds for homeless people are set to open next month in the Antelope Valley after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the funding.

The Board voted Tuesday during their weekly meeting in downtown Los Angeles in favor of opening the Lancaster National Guard Armory, where 125 beds can be installed nightly from November 10, 2017 through March 10, 2018. The High Desert Multiple Ambulatory Care Center will have another 100 beds and be used as a potential temporary 24-hour homeless shelter, during the same November-through-March time period.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger introduced the motion last week, saying she would like to use both one-time homeless prevention county funds from her district and money generated by Measure H, the quarter-cent sales tax initiative passed by Los Angeles County voters in March. The tax is estimated to raise $355  million a year for 10 years to help homeless people transition into affordable housing units.

Barger said the shelter will cost about $280,000 each to operate, but said these are temporary solutions, until other options are available.

RELATED STORY: On LA County’s remote north end, the homeless are stuck. Is hope on the horizon?

The Board’s approval comes two months after the 108-bed Lancaster Community Shelter was shut down over the summer at a time when homelessness in the Antelope Valley increased by 50 percent this past year to an estimated 4,559. As a result, a community consortium was created, so that local lawmakers, members of law enforcement, and those from nonprofit organizations could collaborate and come up with a more stable solution.

“The shelter crisis in the Antelope Valley requires immediate action,” Barger said in a statement Tuesday. “There is an ongoing collaborative effort to find long term solutions to regional
homelessness beyond winter shelter in our Antelope Valley. I look forward to continuing to work with our cities, service providers, and members of the community to address this need.”

In the same statement from Barger, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris praised the move for two shelters and said he was thankful to the supervisor.

“Today is a great day for our community, for the first time in a longtime; the coming together of bold leadership with a ‘no more status quo’ attitude has forged the first steps to address the homeless issue,” he said.

In the same statement, Palmdale Mayor James C. Ledford also expressed appreciation toward Barger.

“Her compassionate efforts will not only be life-saving, but when partnered with other local social services resources, life-changing as well.”

County voters can view how Measure H funds will be used by searching through a final report called “Approved Strategies to Combat Homelessness,” available at homeless.lacounty.gov.

Powered by WPeMatico