L.A.’s winter homeless shelter gets an upgrade: motel vouchers
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The last year-old homeless shelter in Los Angeles got a big upgrade in February, when the city of Pasadena gave the shelter a $4,000 grant to help pay for a $5,000 state grant to convert the site from a church to a homeless shelter.
That grant, by the California Homeless and Supportive Housing Office, brought the shelter’s $3.6 million annual budget up to $5 million.
Most of the $4,000 grant is earmarked for an upgrade to the shelter’s infrastructure, including making the building more energy efficient, installing new plumbing that will allow the shelter to serve as a hotel so that the homeless can stay in place.
The move came in response to a request by officials at the West Los Angeles Church, which owns the property, for help in preserving the property.
In a move that surprised many, the Pasadena City Council last week gave a local business owner the ability to give the city cash in exchange for a voucher that can be used to spend on hotel rooms at the church.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity it presents. It’s a win-win,” said Mike Davis, a former assistant manager at a West Hollywood motel who is the city’s first homeless person to be granted a voucher to stay at the Pasadena shelter.
In the past, the city had only approved hotel vouchers for homeless families, and the shelter has always had to make room for them. But when the church bought the property from a previous owner, the church agreed to let homeless people stay at the shelter on the property for two months. So far, the shelter has used about half of the vouchers to pay rent, Davis said.
The issue of a homeless shelter for people who stay in hotels rather than on the streets has been a hot-button issue for a while.
In recent days, that debate has continued with the announcement in West Hollywood that the city plans to spend $200,000 to build a $7.5 million homeless shelter for people who would previously have been placed in motels or hotels but are unable to move on.
The homeless shelter may also include a hotel.
In the Pasadena story, the city says