YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Funds for Homeless Shelters Sought

October 26, 1998|MARINA MALIKOFF

Responding to a recent cut in funds, homeless advocates have appealed to the City Council to keep doors to the city's homeless shelters open this winter.

The council, when doling out its $420,000 in Community Partnership grants earlier this month, cut funding to homeless agencies it had supported for years, choosing to focus its resources on programs for seniors and youth.

City officials said the county is better-positioned to fund programs that address homeless issues, and that city-run programs, including shelters, have been ineffective.

"Clearly what we are doing is not working . . . to reduce the number of homeless," said City Manager Donna Landeros during last week's council meeting.

During the past decade, the City Council has invested more than $1 million in homeless programs, including one that issues vouchers for mentally ill homeless people to seek shelter at low-cost motels. Yet the homeless population continues to increase, she said.

Clyde Reynolds, executive director of Turning Point Foundation, which provides shelter services to homeless who are mentally ill, said Landeros' presentation had merit.

But he also said much of her analysis was oversimplified.

"The issues are far more complex than what Landeros outlined," said Reynolds. "Many people have multiple problems that are not solved simply by sticking someone in a motel."

Reynolds, who appealed to the council for $35,000 to open the city's winter shelter program by the time cold weather hits, said Landeros' presentation overlooked the impact the lack of affordable housing has on homelessness. She also did not acknowledge a coordinated effort by several agencies to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce homeless numbers.

Landeros said that many of the county's homeless do not receive general assistance funds available from the county either by choice or because they were denied. Funding a program for people who fall through the cracks--by choice or otherwise--is an option for the council to consider, she said.

"That is a tough policy decision the council will have to wrestle with," said Landeros. The city will make an effort to meet with county officials, and the council will consider the matter again in two or three weeks, she said.

Los Angeles Times Articles