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Shelter in Santa Clarita Proposed

With the city refusing to open its homeless facility this year, Supervisor Antonovich suggests using a county maintenance yard.

December 10, 2004|Carla Rivera | Times Staff Writer

A flood-control maintenance yard in Santa Clarita owned by Los Angeles County could soon serve as a winter shelter under a proposal by Supervisor Mike Antonovich to resolve a dispute over who should house the city's homeless.

Representatives from the county, homeless agencies and the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Clarita are scheduled to meet this morning to discuss the suitability of the site. The maintenance yard is on Centerpointe Parkway in a commercial and semi-industrial office park.

If all sides agree, a 40-bed homeless shelter could begin operating by Christmas, although a January date is more likely, officials said. Because the site is on county land, it is not subject to local zoning ordinances or the approval of the city of Santa Clarita, said Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell.

"We have an immediate problem that needs an immediate solution, and this property fits the bill," said Bell. "We want to get these folks in a shelter as soon as possible and we are also very excited that, God willing, we can accommodate them for the holidays."

Santa Clarita officials said they would not comment until they see details of the proposal.

Los Angeles and Santa Clarita have been feuding for weeks, since the latter decided not to open a winter shelter that had operated for several years and instead to pay $36,000 to a nonprofit group to transport homeless people from Santa Clarita to shelters in the San Fernando Valley and downtown Los Angeles.

City Councilwoman Jan Perry charged that Los Angeles has become a dumping ground for other cities' homeless problems.

Last week, a Los Angeles homeless commission rejected the proposal to send homeless people from Santa Clarita to a Los Angeles National Guard armory for the winter, arguing that it could set a precedent for other cities.

Perry said she would not endorse the Antonovich proposal until all of the officials involved have a chance to weigh in.

The winter shelter program, coordinated by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, operates about 2,000 beds at 16 sites from Dec. 1 through March 15.

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