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Community News: South

REGION : Shelters Add Beds to Weather Winter

November 27, 1994|LUCILLE RENWICK

As temperatures drop and winter rains approach, homeless are beginning to seek shelter from the cold wherever they can. Some venture under freeways. Others set up homes of cardboard boxes or seek out abandoned buildings. The lucky ones camp out on a friend's couch for a night.

Every winter tests the survival skills of Los Angeles' poor and homeless. In South Los Angeles, the problem is acutely felt because of the lack of available shelters and resources for homeless in the area.

"When it's cold and rainy, encampments aren't physically viable shelters for people," said Marjorie Gellhorn Sa'adah, executive director of Homeless Health Care. "They need a more stable place to stay, even if it's only temporarily."

For five of Los Angeles' coldest months, beds are provided in designated shelters around the city through the cold-wet weather program. This year, the program has made an additional 2,000 beds available for homeless adults seeking shelter from inclement weather.

The program started Monday and will run until March. From now until Dec. 12, the emergency beds will be open in case of rain or 40-degree temperatures or below. The shelters will operate continuously from Dec. 13 to Feb. 28 and then will be available only in inclement weather through March.

The Panama Hotel in Downtown will also open 100 rooms for people living in encampments. All of the beds are for single homeless men and women and homeless families needing shelter will receive motel and hotel vouchers.

According to a 1992-93 study by Shelter Partnership Inc., about 40,000 people are on the streets of Los Angeles on any given night.

The following South Los Angeles shelters are participating in the cold-wet weather program:

* American Philanthropy Assn., 1218 S. Norton Ave., (213) 295-3707, contact: Tony Chisum Jr.;

* FAME Assistance Corp., 2226 S. Western Ave., (213) 733-0897; contact: Peggy Hill;

* L.A. Community Services, 6700 11th Ave., (213) 759-4860, contact: Francer Flaker;

* California Council Veteran Affairs, 8652 S. Vermont Ave., (213) 750-8034, contact: Kenneth Brooks;

* His Sheltering Arms, 11101 S. Main St., (213) 755-6646, contact: Lillian Jeffries.

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