Mayor Garcetti: L.A. to open new Emergency Shelters ahead of expected storm

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that more than 500 new emergency shelter beds will open Wednesday ahead of a major storm expected this week, building new capacity to protect homeless Angelenos from harsh weather conditions.

“The weather we’re expecting this week could be life-threatening for our homeless neighbors. There’s no time to waste — we have to do everything in our power to bring people inside now,” said Mayor Garcetti. “These new beds will help save lives, and I am grateful to my colleagues on the City Council, our partners at the County, and the service providers who are helping us stand them up so quickly.”

The shelters will be located at various City Recreation and Parks facilities and one community church — with the County of Los Angeles funding services. They will be open and ready to serve Angelenos in need beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

This expansion will help meet a shared City-County goal of opening close to 1,000 emergency shelter beds this week in response to the adverse weather. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a motion introduced by Councilmember Mike Bonin and Councilmember Paul Krekorian supporting the City’s effort to open the shelters.    

“It’s going to be cold, and it’s going to be wet, and left outdoors, many people will die,” said Councilmember Bonin. “A fire is a natural disaster and we provide emergency shelter. An earthquake is a natural disaster and we provide emergency shelter. A heavy rainstorm, for people who are unhoused, is a natural disaster, and we must provide emergency shelter.”

"Opening the shelters early is the humane and moral response to a potential health crisis," said Councilmember Krekorian.  

Funding for the services is being provided by Los Angeles County, and Recreation and Parks staff will be present to support the operation alongside outreach and homeless service professionals. In addition to the City’s more than 500 emergency beds, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has announced that it will increase capacity with about 470 shelter beds — most of them winter beds now opening ahead of schedule — to create more capacity during the storm.

LAHSA’s winter shelter program will formally open on Dec. 1, and is expected to provide 1,232 beds at 16 locations throughout L.A. County through the end of March 2020.