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HOMELESS PROGRAM GETS NEW DIRECTOR SEARCH GOES ON FOR WEDNESDAY SHELTER.

Byline: ERIC LEACH Staff Writer

SIMI VALLEY -- The winter shelter program for the homeless in Simi Valley has a new director but still no place for the valley's homeless residents to stay on Wednesday nights.

Kittie Fidermutz, 42, who has been coordinating the bell-ringer program for the Salvation Army in eastern Ventura County for 11 years, volunteered as supervisor for the shelter program after longtime director John Purvis stepped down this year.

Purvis worked for the past decade as director of the Public Action to Deliver Shelter program seven nights a week, but he decided to move on to other work this year. The PADS program runs from Nov. 1 to the end of March.

``In the beginning, because the weather was so warm, we didn't have many clients, but now that it's cold, we've had more and more,'' said Fidermutz, who is helped at the shelters by her 24-year-old son, Steven. ``We're expecting up to 40 a night when it rains.

``The clients are people like all of us. They are nice and willing to help. I care about them.''

``Some of them are working so hard to find a permanent home. They get up and go to work every day,'' she said. ``I've had a couple of families, including a single mom with five children. The youngest one was 11 months old.''

Fidermutz said she has hired homeless people in the past for the bell-ringer program, and they made excellent employees.

``You just have to give them a chance,'' she said.

Virginia Nelson, director of Simi Valley's Samaritan Center, which sponsors the PADS shelter program with the help of local churches and the Knights of Columbus, said Fidermutz was ``a godsend'' after Purvis left.

``She has big shoes to fill from John Purvis, but she's doing a great job,'' Nelson said.

The lack of a shelter site on Wednesday nights makes it hard on the homeless who need a place to stay, Nelson said.

The church that provided Wednesday night shelter in the past could not participate in the program this year because of scheduling conflicts with a Bible study class and a youth group.

``We've been talking to several other churches who might be able to help,'' she said. ``We're working on it right now and hoping by next Wednesday we will have a place for people to sleep.''

eric.leach@dailynews.com

(805) 583-7602

Shelters

The Simi Valley homeless shelters are open from 7:45 p.m. to 6 a.m. Here are their locations:

Sunday's shelter is in the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1255 E. Patricia Ave.

Monday, Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1636 Sinaloa Road.

Tuesday, Trinity Lutheran Church, 2929 Alamo St.

Thursday, Simi Valley Community Church, 2000 Royal Ave.

Friday, Our Savior Lutheran Church, 4191 Cochran St.

Saturday, United Methodist Church, 2394 Erringer Road, in partnership with St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

After the shelters close at 6 a.m., homeless adults in Simi Valley can go to the Samaritan Center, 280 Royal Ave., from 7 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday for breakfast, showers, clean clothes and help getting public services.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 10, 2006
Words:526
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