in 2009. approximately 250 adults were homeless as well. The number of people served by the Winter shelter program in Glendale was almost double this year from last year.
A couple of times this season I went to The Winter Shelter. It is in the Glendale Armory (having it in Burbank caused a lot of NIMBY-ism) in the main ground floor room. Army cots are set up in rows, a television is in the corner and a couple of food tables are off to the side. When you walk in the door you are met by a friendly but firm security officer who searches your possessions for anything banned or harmful and then you are directed to sign in at the desk.
The process seemed smooth and occasionally eventful – just because any group of people will be unpredictable. Some clients of the shelter are holding down jobs and sleeping there at night, others may or may not have eaten during the day, some are homeless for the first time and completely overwhelmed. And almost every night a family or two…or three with children would come to the door and need separate shelter in motels or local shelters.
The Winter Shelter is a special kindness funded by many sources and a program that often has no where to happen. When the armed services needs to gather the troops in the Armory – those who sleep there have no where to go.
No churches open up their sanctuaries, no temples offer space, and even an empty warehouse or unused office space can make a difference to those with nowhere to go.
Yes, some of the faces are the same each year – but many of them are new and hopefully many of them are also receiving outreach services from The Union Rescue Mission and PATH Achieve so that next year they will be self-sufficient and in housing of their own procurement.
It is possible, and it can be done. But it won’t be done if you have access or know someone with access to space and services but keep this need to yourself.
Speak up. There are 57 homeless children in Glendale that we know of. I promise you that there are well over a hundred. I know this because their parents are my clients.
Volunteer to serve in an outreach agency, ask yourself if you can cause any space to be available for shelter, and let us have fewer children seeking shelter next winter.