A number of Burbank residents are apparently confused about what’s going on at the city’s winter homeless shelter. And they have good reason.
For the last few months, the city has gotten mixed messages from Union Rescue Mission officials over whether the shelter at the National Guard Armory allows walk-in visitors or takes homeless residents strictly by bus, and over how carefully the mission screens tenants on their way in. Carrie Gatlin, the mission’s vice president who oversees the Burbank shelter, said in October that the shelter took a small amount of walk-ins. But in November, mission Director Andy Bales said the shelter does not operate a walk-in program.
Even more troubling was Gatlin’s claim, at the Oct. 28 council meeting, that the shelter “is safer than public transportation, where you could be sitting next to a sex offender.” This month, the Burbank Police Department discovered that at least four sex offenders have stayed in the shelter this winter, and Gatlin, when questioned by the council Tuesday, replied that the mission did not ask prospective residents whether they are sex offenders.