(LOS ANGELES) – The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is reorganizing its winter shelter program.
LAHSA announced a reimagined augmented winter shelter program in early November to help unhoused people in Los Angeles County take shelter during the cold season. As the temperature drops here in Los Angeles, the organization says the unhoused community will have access to 143 beds, food, and supportive services across five emergency shelters as the temperature drops.
“This year, we’re debuting a reimagined augmented winter shelter program that provides us with new flexibility to put more life-saving resources where they’re needed most,” said LAHSA Director of Communications Ahmad Chapman.
The five partnered shelter locations are spread throughout the county, going as far north as the Volunteers of America shelter in Lancaster, CA, and as far east as Whittier First Day in Whittier, CA. Three of the five shelter locations are in the city of Los Angeles. “Home at Last” is in south Los Angeles, along with Abundant Blessings, which has another location in central Los Angeles.
The new augmented program will be activated when the National Weather Service forecast calls for multiple days of low temperatures accompanied by night windchill temperatures of 32 degrees or less, 1 inch of rain in 24 hours, or three consecutive days of 1-4 inches of rain or more accompanied by temperatures at or below 50 degrees, and flood warnings.
In addition to beds and food, LAHSA will provide 142 motel vouchers per day for those without homes the city of Los Angeles and 367 motel vouchers across the rest of LA County. “We gain that flexibility by using motel vouchers instead of static emergency shelters to provide a warm place to stay for unsheltered neighbors in areas experiencing severe weather,” Chapman continued.
This reimagined shelter program comes after a year that left many unhoused individuals vulnerable to hypothermia. According to a piece published by The Guardian this fall, at least 14 homeless people froze to death in LA in 2021. Six of those victims died on sidewalks.
Los Angeles has faced a growing homelessness problem in the last decade. This year, the homeless population grew by 4% from the previous year. And as climate change brings more inclement weather to southern California, many LA residents are concerned about who will take care of the less fortunate.
“LA seems to be ill-equipped to deal with the intensity and the extent of the problem. And it just gets worse, just grows,” said Los Angeles resident Mitch Waxman.
The program started on November 1st and will end on March 31st. The five shelter locations will be open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Any person needing a bed or a motel voucher during dangerous weather should contact 211 for help.