More than $2 million in new grants to homeless shelters in Los Angeles County are being allocated to pay for 800 permanent emergency shelter beds in the region, state officials announced Tuesday.
Senate Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) announced the awards as part of an overall $5.8 million distributed as a result of Proposition 84, the emergency shelter bond measure passed by voters in November, 1988.
"Over 1,800 people are being turned away from shelters every night," Roberti said at a press conference, referring to a recent study of shelters in Los Angeles County. "Today I am announcing one significant step toward the lessening of that crisis."
The money will either preserve beds that would otherwise be lost due to funding shortages or create new ones, said Eugene Boutilier, administrator of the Los Angeles Emergency Food and Shelter Program Local Board, which selected the 12 local grant recipients.
"This will help pay for the permanent beds we desperately need," he said.
At present, there are 6,400 emergency shelter beds in the county, Boutilier added.
The Housing Authority of the city of Los Angeles is receiving a $200,000 grant to place 40 mobile homes out of 102 originally acquired by Mayor Tom Bradley two years ago to shelter the homeless.
The trailers became controversial when various community groups objected to having them in their neighborhoods, and by early this month only 61 had been placed.
The 40 trailers, Boutilier said, will be placed on Century Freeway land and operated by the Watts Labor Community Action Committee.
Another recipient is West Hollywood, which has been operating a temporary shelter in West Hollywood Park where Roberti's press conference was held. The shelter's $216,000 grant will help complete a permanent 70-bed facility planned at 1033 N. La Brea Ave.
The largest local grants, which amounted to $250,000 each, went to the Mary Lind Foundation, which operates three Los Angeles shelters treating homeless alcoholics and wants to acquire another 42-bed facility; Triangle Christian Services, a volunteer church organization expanding its shelter in South-Central Los Angeles, and Valley Shelter Inc., the largest shelter in the San Fernando Valley.
The Valley Shelter grant will create new beds for families at its North Hollywood facility, according to Nancy Bianconi, director of housing operations for the L.A. Family Housing Corp., which operates the shelter.
"We're taking five rooms and enlarging them to facilitate larger families," she said, "and some of our rooms need extensive renovation to keep up with health, building and safety standards. If we hadn't received that money, those rooms would have been closed down."