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SHELTERS PREPARE FOR BUSY WINTER MORE HOMELESS EXPECTED THIS YEAR.

Byline: Jason Kandel Staff Writer

Eighteen cold-weather shelters will open Saturday across the Los Angeles area as officials brace for a surge in the homeless population because of the recession.

However, this year homeless people will be required to show a photo identification at shelters housed in California National Guard armories as security is bolstered in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Also this year, shelters will operate seven nights a week through March 15, a change from previous years, when the shelters would open only during cold or wet weather through the first and last months of the program, officials said.

``Not only will we see larger numbers, but we're also going to be seeing more first-time homeless people,'' said Jeff Farber, chief operating officer for LA Family Housing Corp. of North Hollywood, which provides homeless services. ``We'll get somebody who's brand-new to being homeless, whose last shred of dignity has been stripped from them. Here, they'll be received with a warm welcome.''

Shelter officials said those homeless people without identification will be issued cards, and they assure that no one without IDs will be turned away because of the new security measures.

``Providers at the armory shelters are online to create IDs for those who don't have any,'' said Scott Milbourn, winter shelter program manager for Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. ``We will not turn anyone away.''

About 13,900 homeless people were served during last winter's shelter program, up from an estimated 12,900 in 1999-2000. Last winter, beds were used 162,900 times during the winter shelter program, up from about 157,200 in 1999-2000.

With the onset of a national recession induced by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, along with a potentially frigid winter, homeless advocates project an increased demand for the shelters.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is paying $199,000 to LA Family Housing to provide 125 beds at the Sylmar National Guard Armory, 12860 Arroyo Drive.

LA Family Housing officials provide transportation to the shelter from various pickup locations across the region. For information, call the winter shelter hotline at (800) 548-6047.

Since 1993, the LAHSA has provided winter shelter services at an average cost of about $30,000 a day, officials said.

Shelters include 150 beds at the Glendale YWCA, 735 Lexington Drive; 45 beds at Catholic Charities of Los Angeles Inc., 44611 Yucca Ave. in Lancaster; and 34 beds at the Santa Clarita Community Development Center, 20850 Redview Drive in Santa Clarita.

Shelters typically open about 6 p.m. and close at 8 a.m. the next day.

Stacy Rowe, an administrative analyst with the Glendale Department of Community Development and Housing, which will open the city's armory to the homeless next week, said shelters will be ready to issue ID cards to homeless people who need them.

``There's going to be a capacity to issue photo IDs at the shelters,'' she said. The Glendale National Guard Armory is located at 220 E. Colorado Ave.

Santa Clarita resident Vonnie Cronenwett will organize volunteers at the Community Development Center. She hopes to be able to accommodate all the homeless people who want a bed for the night.

She added that she enjoys meeting the homeless, and hearing their stories.

``I feel it's my calling,'' she said. ``I find out that some of them could have had it all. It teaches you what life really is about.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Nov 30, 2001
Words:568
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