In late November, officials with the Glendale Armory — faced with construction of its site from Dec. 1 to March 15 — sought the assistance of nearby Burbank to house the homeless in its armory during the winter months.
The late notice, combined with the facility’s proximity to a park and school, set off a firestorm of debate that culminated at a Dec. 4 City Council meeting in which dozens of shelter supporters saw the council approve the location to accommodate the area’s homeless.
Officials’ expectations Wednesday were illustrated by the 150 cots that crews set up before anyone walked through the door. The armory includes a kitchen, bathrooms and showers.
“Sometimes it takes a while to get the word out,” Bales said.
Signs were posted around Burbank and Glendale alerting the area’s homeless that the shelter was open, and notices were given out at the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, which was how Brian Jones, the lone Burbank representative, heard about the shelter.
Jones, 56, found himself without a home two years ago after getting laid off from a telemarketing job. While he usually stays on the street in Burbank, braving rain and cold temperatures with a sleeping bag and layers of sweat shirts, Jones came to the shelter for a warm meal and a quiet place to sleep.
He did not follow the debate surrounding the opening of the shelter but said people’s concerns about its closeness to Pacific Park and Providencia Elementary School might be legitimate.
“Some people do have a valid concern with the homeless,” he said at the Burbank pick-up spot on Front Street. “Some people are on drugs or on psychiatric medication. But not me. I’ve been trying to get a job, going to the [Burbank] WorkForce [Connection] every day. It’s difficult to get a job with no license and no suit.