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Council gives money to keep shelter open

Union Rescue Mission still needs an additional $40,000, but officials are confident a private donor will bridge the gap that would keep the shelter open until March 15.

January 16, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

CITY HALL — Trying to stave off a $49,000 shortfall, the Burbank City Council on Tuesday voted 4-1 to allocate $10,000 for the winter homeless shelter at the National Guard Armory on Valhalla Drive.

In another vote, the council voted 3-2 to apportion another $10,000 to expand case management and transitional services for the area's homeless

On Jan. 5, officials at the Union Rescue Mission, which runs the shelter, said it might have to shut down two weeks before its planned closing March 15 due to a nearly $50,000 deficit.


“In December, giving was down about $300,000 because of the economy and other hard times,” Executive Director Andy Bales said. “We knew going into this we would have a $49,000 shortfall. It’s hard for us to come up with that money.”

When the City Council approved the armory as an acceptable homeless shelter on Dec. 4, Councilman Dave Golonski proposed that Burbank give $20,000 in city funds to support the site and asked Glendale to match Burbank’s donation.

But both cities have been slow to donate the money, necessitating the council meeting discussion Tuesday night, at which a majority of council members said the city should provide the money independent of Glendale's action.

"Additional funds should be allocated for this shelter program, whether or not Glendale matches," Mayor Marsha Ramos said.

Because the shelter is due to close in two months, the council was hesitant to give more than $10,000

"I’m in favor of giving some money, but time is running short," Councilwoman Anja Reinke said. "Ten thousand dollars is money that we can put to use immediately."

Though the rescue mission is still short about $40,000, officials are confident a private donor will come through.

"We’ve been talking to a private developer who said they would give $10,000," Bales said.

The developer is M. David Paul, while Bales has also been in contact with NBC about another private donation, he said.

The money would help keep the shelter open, though without the funds Bales said he would find a way to keep the site available for the area’s homeless until March 15.

“We’ll do everything humanly possible to keep it open,” he said.

“The goal is not to have anybody out in the rain, in the cold, on the streets.”

In the second motion, a majority of council members voted to provide money for future homeless services.

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