Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Nov. 26 that more than 500 new emergency shelter beds have opened this week, creating new capacity to protect homeless individuals from harsh weather conditions.
“The weather we’re expecting could be life-threatening for our homeless neighbors. There’s no time to waste; we have to do everything in our power to bring people inside,” Garcetti said. “These new beds will help save lives, and I am grateful to my colleagues on the City Council, our partners at the county and the service providers who are helping us stand them up so quickly.”
The shelters will be located at city recreation and parks facilities and a community church, with the county of Los Angeles funding services. The facilities opened yesterday morning.
The expansion will help meet a goal of opening close to 1,000 emergency shelter beds this week in response to adverse weather. On Nov. 26, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a motion introduced by Councilmen Mike Bonin, 11th District, and Paul Krekorian, 2nd District, supporting the effort to open the shelters early.
“It’s going to be cold, and it’s going to be wet, and left outdoors, many people will die,” Bonin said. “A fire is a natural disaster and we provide emergency shelter. An earthquake is a natural disaster and we provide emergency shelter. A heavy rainstorm, for people who are unhoused, is a natural disaster, and we must provide emergency shelter.”
“Opening the shelters early is the humane and moral response to a potential health crisis,” Krekorian added.
Staff from the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will be present at the shelter facilities, along with outreach and homeless service professionals. The more than 500 emergency beds opened by the city augment approximately 470 shelter beds opened this week by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. LAHSA’s winter shelter program will formally open on Dec. 1, and is expected to provide 1,232 beds at 16 locations throughout L.A. County through the end of March.