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Council approves homeless aid funds

Union Rescue Mission subsidiary asked city to help cover transportation costs.

January 19, 2011|By Gretchen Meier, gretchen.meier@latimes.com
(File Photo )

The homeless winter shelter in Glendale has avoided a budget shortfall after the Burbank City Council approved $16,410 for a local outreach coordinator.

EIMAGO, a subsidiary of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, also asked Burbank to help cover the cost of transporting homeless clients to the National Guard Armory in Glendale.

"There are limited services available to the homeless in [Burbank]," said Carrie Gatlin-Siqueiros, vice president of government relations for the Rescue Mission. "The outreach coordinator will help them connect with other services that may be available to them."

According to EIMAGO, the Los Angeles County shelter in Glendale is operating at 120% capacity, an average of 180 beds each night.

Out of the homeless who use the winter shelter, the highest percentage, 19%, consider Los Angeles their home. Glendale, at 15%, and Burbank, at 6%, are the next highest populations.

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"There's always a gap in terms of homeless services," said Ivet Samvelyan, homeless services coordinator in Glendale. "We have various homeless programs and we try to help everyone we can."

In approving $3,590 for 3,590 bus tokens for round-trip transportation to Glendale, Burbank City Council members requested a detailed account of how the remaining funds would be spent and how it would affect local clients.

EIMAGO had already decided to fund an outreach coordinator for Burbank, in collaboration with PATH Achieve Glendale, and hope for the city money due to the heavy rain in December, Gatlin-Siqueiros said.

"[The coordinator] also allows us the opportunity to reach out to those that might not be accessing the winter shelter program," she said. "Through some case management and building ongoing relationships, people will come in off the streets that wouldn't normally come in."

The funding provides a fourth outreach coordinator for the winter shelter program that allows PATH Achieve Glendale to offer full-time services to Burbank homeless both out in the field and at the shelter.

Case workers began distributing the bus tokens on Dec. 1. Signage was also posted at the old shuttle pickup location, 451 1/2 N. Front St. to indicate tokens can be obtained at the Salvation Army and Burbank Temporary Aid Center, officials said.

Without the Burbank grant, much of the outreach program would have needed full payment by the Rescue Mission, or close early, Gatlin-Siqueros said.

"I would have figured out how to cover that within the current budget," she said. "But it would have meant declining services or even closing early."

The shelter is scheduled to remain open until March 15 and is located at 220 E. Colorado St. in Glendale.

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