At Volunteers of America, Advancing Communities Together
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)’s Winter Shelter Program for the 2023-24 season has opened. The life-saving program, which offers 322 beds across eight sites in Los Angeles County, will run through March 31, 2024.
Local shelters include Volunteers of America of Los Angeles, 45150 60th St. West in Lancaster (44 beds), and Advancing Communities Together, 38626 9th St. East, in Palmdale (35 beds).
The County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles provide funding to LHASA to administer the Winter Shelter Program. LAHSA contracts with non-profit service providers to operate the temporary emergency shelters. The Winter Shelter Program offers two components to help people experiencing unsheltered homelessness escape winter weather: the Seasonal Winter Shelter Program and the Augmented Winter Shelter Program.
“We’re excited to provide this important, life-saving resource for our unhoused neighbors during these cold, wet months,” said LAHSA CEO, Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum. “We served more people through our augmented program last year, and we know that increased awareness will make it a vital resource this year as well.”
The Seasonal Winter Shelter Program operates sites 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during the winter shelter season. These emergency shelters offer a total of 322 beds across eight sites (four sites in the City of Los Angeles with 197 beds and four sites in the County of Los Angeles with 125 beds) to help people experiencing homelessness. These temporary emergency shelters provide a warm place to sleep, meals, and access to supportive services and housing assistance.
Additionally, LAHSA’s reimagined Augmented Winter Shelter Program will return and open on a limited-time basis during severe or inclement weather conditions (known as activation periods), as determined by the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management. The Augmented Winter Shelter Program provides additional interim housing options during activation periods to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Below is a description of the severe or inclement weather conditions that inform the County’s Office of Emergency Management decision to activate the Augmented Winter Shelter Program:
• The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast calls for three (3) days of low daytime temperatures accompanied by night wind chill temperatures of 32 degrees or less.
• The forecast calls for 1 inch of rain in 24 hours.
• The forecast calls for three (3) consecutive days of 1/-4 inches of rain or more accompanied by temperatures at or below 50 degrees.
• The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a flood watch or warning.
• Conditions not previously identified by the plan but for which it would be prudent to do so based upon critical need.
In the 2022-23 season, the Winter Shelter Program served 6,067 people between the Seasonal and Augmented programs. That is a 176% increase over the number of participants in the 2021-2022 season.
The Augmented Winter Shelter Program – which offered motel rooms to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness – exceeded expectations by providing shelter to 652% more people in the 2022-2023 season than the previous season. In total, 5,402 people utilized the Augmented Winter Shelter program during Winter 2022-23.
The flexibility provided by using motel rooms in regions of the County experiencing severe weather led to an increase in the Augmented Winter Shelter Program. Instead of being limited by an augmented program that utilized a few hundred congregate beds in a few regions across the county, the reimagined Augmented Winter Shelter Program made motel and hotel rooms available to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in every region with severe weather. As a result, last season’s Winter Shelter Program helped 176% more people while only costing 20% more money than the previous winter season.
The Winter Shelter Program ends on March 31, 2024. Individuals who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness and who are seeking shelter during the winter season can contact 2-1-1 LA County (dial 2-1-1) to find out about available interim housing resources.