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L.B. Homeless Task Force Urges Shelters Survey

August 13, 1987|ROXANA KOPETMAN | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — Before winter arrives, members of the Task Force on the Homeless want to ensure that this city is prepared with emergency shelter.

But before approving any recommendations, the City Council wants to make sure Long Beach will not be duplicating county programs. So on Tuesday, the council--rather than approve task force recommendations--forwarded them to City Manager James Hankla for review.

The task force recommended that the city have an inventory by Oct. 1 of all public and private properties available for emergency shelter. The group asked the council to reinstate the system it used earlier this year, when county employees distributed vouchers for hotels and motels on nights when the temperature dropped to 40 degrees or lower.

The task force also asked that the city's homeless coordinator work with churches, synagogues, social service agencies and others to provide overnight shelter when vouchers are exhausted or unavailable.

Task force member Patricia Schauer told the council she did not want homeless people in the cold "because we couldn't get our act together."

But several council members said they were concerned that the city might be duplicating services or going beyond what the county recommends.

Councilman Warren Harwood said he was concerned that the task force went beyond its role and that the council, which should be the group setting policy, is "here merely to rubber stamp."

Councilman Wallace Edgerton, however, said that the task force was set up as an advisory group and is performing its function. The group, in his opinion, has done "a fantastic job."

In addition to reviewing the latest task force recommendations, the city manager also is reviewing an interim report the group released last month.

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