With a homeless crisis continuing to blanket Los Angeles County, its leaders on Tuesday are poised to keep open a 24-hour shelter long beyond the winter for a growing population of people without homes.
A motion by county supervisors Kathryn Barger and Mark Ridley-Thomas seeks to declare a “shelter crisis” in the Antelope Valley and to use voter-approved Measure H funds to keep the newly converted shelter operating through much of the year.
In their motion, the supervisors said that “a significant number of persons within the Antelope Valley are without the ability to obtain shelter, resulting in a threat to their health and safety.”
FROM THE MOTION:
“Instruct the Director of the Homeless Initiative to work with Los AngelesHomeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the Fire Chief, Director of PublicWorks, County Counsel and other pertinent County Departments toensure readiness for continued operation of a 24-hour emergencyshelter at the High Desert Multi-Ambulatory Care Center (High DesertMACC) during the shelter crisis period of April 1, 2018 through October31, 2018.”
The supervisors plan to direct the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to use funds from Measure H to keep the shelter and its 93 beds at the corner of I and 60th streets in Lancaster open from April 1 through Oct. 31. Voters approved Measure H, the quarter-cent sales tax initiative passed by Los Angeles County voters in March 2017.
In the northernmost region of L.A. County, the Antelope Valley has seen a huge rise in the number of homeless people.
A count in January 2017 revealed there were 4,559 homeless men, women and children in the region, up from 3,038 the year before, according to figures released by LAHSA.
In the summer of 2017, a financially strapped 108-bed Lancaster Community Shelter closed its doors.
That left people on the streets in an area of LA County that can get dangerously cold in the winter and searing in the summer.
In response, the Board approved Barger’s motion to open the Lancaster National Guard Armory, for at least 125 beds from Nov. 10, 2017, through March 10, 2018. Her motion also added the former High Desert Multiple Ambulatory Care Center for almost 100 beds as a temporary 24-hour homeless shelter, during the same November-through-March time period.
The center would get renewed life under the motion set to be considered on Tuesday.
According to a Daily News report last year, each shelter costs about $280,000 to operate, using both one-time homeless-prevention county funds from her district and money generated by Measure H. The Measure H tax is estimated to raise $355 million a year for 10 years to help homeless people transition into affordable housing units.
The county motion comes days after the Los Angeles City Council voted to develop an “emergency” plan aimed at immediately sheltering all of the city’s homeless individuals who are still living out in the open, including those in tents, mobile homes and on sidewalks.
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