The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved yesterday to extend funding for two winter shelters—one in Long Beach and the other in Bell—to keep them operating through November.
The motion, authored by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, will also direct Measure H money to be used to turn county “winter shelters” into 24/7 year-round shelters when Measure H funding becomes available, according to Hahn’s office.
Both shelters closed March 31.
“With the passage of Measure H, Los Angeles County will be able to provide real help and critical services to address the homelessness crisis,” Supervisor Hahn said in a statement. “Until Measure H funding becomes available, keeping the shelters in Long Beach and Bell open year-round is a compassionate and commonsense solution to keeping hundreds of individuals off the streets.”
The extension will allow more than 240 families and individuals to continue being served daily at these two locations, which will also provide additional services to clients including mental health care, substance abuse treatment and health services, according to Hahn’s office.
Kelly Colopy, director of Long Beach Health and Human Services, said that over the next month or so the city will be looking for a provider and will negotiate with the owner of the property to continue operating the North Long Beach winter shelter.
However, Colopy said the site will not be able to run 24/7.
“We would continue to send representatives to the shelter to connect folks to services, as I’ve been speaking to the county, they also have a lot of different providers and they said they would come and help support that as well,” Colopy said. “So our goal is that any time you have people staying you can talk to them [about services].”
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the North Long Beach shelter, operated by First to Serve, had a 76 percent occupancy rate for the season. The Bell shelter, run by the Salvation Army, had a 103 percent occupancy rate for the season.