Armory unavailable for shelter next year

Christopher Cadelago of Burbank Leader writes that the National Guard Armory in Burbank, which has served as a Winter Shelter site for the homeless, will not not be available next winter season.  Burbank neighbors express enthusiasm that the shelter will not be returning.
March 30, 2009
Many thankful Burbank won’t host winter shelter again.

BURBANK — City officials and neighbors of the National Guard Armory, which for the past two winters has hosted a homeless shelter, breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday after learning that the armory would be unavailable for at least one year.

The National Guard plans to deploy both military units operating out of the Burbank armory to the Middle East this summer for about one year, Sgt. Major Lawrence Ellsworth said last week. Activated armories are unavailable to the public.

“We welcome the fact that the homeless shelter will not be returning next year and, honestly, we hope that, considering our opposition, they will stay away forever,” said Armando Perez, a shelter neighbor who has spoken out against its operator, the Union Rescue Mission of Los Angeles and EIMAGO Inc. “We’re scared. We absolutely need to protect our children and the sanctity of our families. That can’t happen when parents don’t allow their children to go to the park because of what they experienced.”

“First, we must clearly define what we mean by a ‘winter homeless shelter,’” he said. “It would seem that providing shelter from brief periods of inclement weather is fundamentally different than providing a full-service facility for the chronically homeless who may be struggling with addiction, mental illness, or who otherwise find themselves indigent.”

Carrie Gatlin, vice president of government relations and special projects for the Union Rescue Mission, on Tuesday will present a closeout report to the Burbank City Council, which gives details about the 549 transient clients served by the shelter from Dec. 1 to March 15.

The shelter — made up of 179 volunteers — placed 22 individuals and 10 families in transitional or permanent housing in 2008-09. Police responded to the facility 22 times, resulting in three arrests and two transports for mental health. Eight registered sex offenders made their way onto the facility and were later referred out, according to the report.

Oasis to hundreds closes doors Sunday – Burbank

Christopher Cadelago of the Burbank Leader writes about the closing of the Burbank Winter shelter on Sunday.  The Union Rescue Mission and EIMAGO Inc have operated the winter shelter since Dec. 1, 2008.  A total of 473 men and women have been provided meals and a safe place to sleep since the winter shelter opened.

Union Rescue Mission’s CEO Andy Bales is concerned about what will happen to the individuals who sought shelter over the last few months and would love to see the shelter remain open.

But the chances of that happening are slim, said the Rev. Andy Bales, chief executive of the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, the shelter’s operator.

“Not only do we have to contend with the shrinking economy and growing unemployment, which I believe is actually closer to 20%, but now we’re in the process of listening to complaints from neighbors and doing our best to address them,” Bales said. “It’s something that needs to be done to keep us up and running.”

Bales said he met Friday with Councilman David Gordon, who shared with him some of the community’s concerns. Among them are problems with loitering, public urination and homeless people arriving at the shelter at all hours of the evening.

Another complaint lodged against the Union Rescue Mission and EIMAGO Inc., the nonprofit that takes care of day-to-day duties, is that volunteers have failed to keep criminals away, specifically sex offenders.

To tackle issues of loitering and walk-ins, Bales said, the Union Rescue Mission has spent about $40,000 on increased shuttle service to and from the facility in the last month.

Click Here to read the rest of the article.

Click here for more information on the current situation with the Burbank Winter Shelter.

Rescue mission seeks aid – The Burbank Leader

Tom Risen of The Burbank Leader writes about Union Rescue Mission’s appeal for increased winter shelter aid.

“We’ve been speaking out to public officials, but I don’t think anybody is quite ready to see the gravity of this,” said Andy Bales, chief executive of the Union Rescue Mission, which runs a number of shelters in the Greater Los Angeles area. “We need to take emergency steps for the number of people that are going to be coming our way because of foreclosures and job loss.

“This is alarming, and I’ve been working with the homeless for 23 years. It’s getting a little Depression-like.”

This is the second year URM has run the winter shelter in Burbank, which will close on March 15.  

Click here to read the article.

“Winter shelter opens” –

Zain Shauk of the Burbank Leader writes about the opening of the winter shelter in Burbank. Union Rescue Mission is running the program again this year.

The city’s winter homeless shelter opened Monday, providing cots, showers and hot meals to 31 people on its first night of operation at the Burbank National Guard Armory.

Last year, the shelter drew only about 15 people on its first night and almost 150 on its most crowded evening before it closed in mid-March, said Andy Bales, director of the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, which runs the program.

Click here to read the article.

Homeless shelter to open – Burbank Leader

Veronica Rocha of the Burbank Leader writes about the Homeless shelter that will be operated by Union Rescue Mission.

A winter shelter for the homeless will open Monday for the second consecutive year at the Burbank National Guard Armory, to provide shelter for up to 150 people during the year’s coldest months.

The armory will host the shelter through March 15, said Andy Bales, director of the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, which runs the program.

“We really think it’s important to get them out of the cold and rain,” he said.

Click Here to read the rest of the article.