Homeless Shelter In A Church Faced Funding Crisis Over Narrow Pews
A homeless shelter faced closure throughout the winter because the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority thought people might fall off of pews that had been converted into beds.The All Saints Episcopal Church in Highland Park has been offering their church pews as shelter for the homeless since December 1, the Eastsider reports. Every night, the pews are converted into 50 beds and they've been consistently full. However, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority decided that the pews were one reason why the shelter wasn't up to their standards.
Fredy Ceja, a spokesperson for Councilman Gil Cedillo, said, "They have concerns about people sleeping in pews and potentially rolling over, falling and hurting themselves."
This meant that the shelter would miss out on receiving the city funding they need to remain open throughout the winter, shelter organizers said.
The shelter is known as the Northeast Los Angeles Winter Access Center and is run by Recycled Resources. It's the only homeless shelter at this time in Northeast L.A. It is currently at capacity and relies on volunteers and donations. The City Council approved $12.4 million in funding for homelessness last week in an effort to get people off the streets before El Niño, and Recycled Resources was counting on getting about $75,000.
Cedillo recommended using the Bridewell Armory as a shelter instead, but Rebecca Pine of Recycled Resources said that the property was far from ready. Councilman Jose Huizar suggested offering the shelter $20,000 from his council fund, the L.A. Times reports. The City Council approved the funding, and kicked the armory motion over to the homelessness committee. Huizar also said that the homeless authority will fund a waiver to help the shelter.
Activists are hoping that the City commits to spending $100 million per year on homelessness. This commitment has been the biggest issue among those debating the City's homeless plan, which is due in January.