Despite warm weather forecasts as the southland enters the holiday season, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors focused on winter this week, extending access to homeless shelters through March 2018.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger co-authored the motion to spend $709,000 to keep as many of the county’s 716 winter shelter beds as possible available for the additional month.
“Winter is an especially difficult season for this vulnerable population,” Solis said. “With days getting shorter and the temperatures at night dropping further, it is a critical time to provide those experiencing homelessness a safe place to come in from the cold to receive services, eat a warm meal and sleep.”
Last year, the program served 3,451 individuals, according to Solis.
The motion also calls for an additional 330 beds to be made available at Athens and Bassett parks in South Los Angeles and La Puente respectively to accommodate up to 10 days of severe, inclement weather.
Barger noted that extreme weather conditions can last into early spring in mountain and desert areas, particularly the Antelope Valley.
“It is imperative that we do everything we can to make sure that unsheltered individuals are not exposed to these dangerous elements while the weather still poses a threat,” she said.