When asked about some Burbank residents’ concerns that the shelter on Valhalla Street would be a haven for homeless people, the 40-year-old man dismissed such concerns.
“Homeless people don’t take over an area,” he said. “They have freedom to move about. Besides, if you stay in one area, you’ll get noticed.”
While the lack of people at the shelter had some dismayed, it provided more than enough space and food for those who did show.
Rose Romero, 50, was one of the six who ate a dinner that included mashed potatoes, vegetables and strips of meat. She was impressed with the size, food and friendliness of the staff that checked her in and ensured her needs were met.
“This is much bigger than the [Glendale] Armory,” she said. “The pick-up was fine, and the staff seems nice and friendly.”
Though the Glendale pick-up went smoothly, the yellow school bus that transported the homeless individuals was 45 minutes late in picking up Jones.
“We have to get the grooves out,” said Carrie Gatlin, a vice president at the rescue mission.
Gatlin anticipates that more people will discover the availability of the shelter as more religious groups get involved.
On Monday, Mayor Marsha Ramos will convene a coalition of faith-based organizations and service providers that she hopes will aid the management of the center until the term ends in March. “I did get quite a few e-mails from people out there that want to help,” she said.
Ramos invited representatives from Red Cross, Burbank Temporary Aid Center, local churches and synagogues as well as area officials to attend at 9 a.m. at the Buena Vista Library.
Bales was pleased with the mayor’s initiative.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “We expected the political battle, but to see the mayor organize this really helps us.” Bales hopes Burbank and Glendale help out in more ways than one.
At the Dec. 4 Burbank City Council meeting, Councilman Dave Golonski offered $25,000 of city funds and asked Glendale to match that amount, to help the mission run the shelter.
“It was amazing that Burbank asked Glendale to do that,” he said. “If they don’t come up with that $50,000, we are going to have to raise that money ourselves. “We need that money for case managers, transportation, food, staffing and to give people like Brian [Jones] another try.”