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Winter Shelter Space for LA’s Homeless Disappears Fast … Many Turned Away


FIRST PERSON - Winter is getting ready to come to an end and the homeless stay in LA’s winter shelters is too.

Most shelters open up during the winter and once winter begins to transition to spring they close down. But where do the homeless people end up? Back on the streets and back to skid row. 

The 2012-2013 Winter Shelter Program operates for 91 days between November 1 to March 14. A majority of the programs begin December 1 and end March 1.  A few will operate from December 14 to March 14 or November 1 to January 30. 

This means that many of LA’s homeless have only temporary shelter and are now looking for any type of transitional housing. Permanent housing is more difficult because of their transportation, health and time limitations. 

I am an Intake worker for a Winter Shelter Program and I see a ton of people come in and go out of these shelters. Most women tend to be pregnant and we run out of space at the shelter quickly. 

Case managers are constantly working hard to assist with housing but there is not enough time and resources to assist everyone in need. 

Admittance to the shelters is available on a first-come, first-served basis for single individuals. Individuals needing emergency shelter can get free transportation to and from the shelter locations from any of the pick-up points throughout the City and County. 

That first come first serve rule is understandable but so unfortunate for the people who don’t get to enter when it’s 30 degrees outside. Los Angeles’ Shelter Program needs more funding to help accommodate the homeless that are left out in the city’s winter elements. 

You can learn more about Los Angeles homeless crisis at LAHSA.org or LAALMANAC.com.


(Shaneka Pittman is working on a degree in journalism. She is a South LA voice and a contributor to CityWatch.)




Vol 11 Issue 15

Pub: Feb 19, 2013



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