CA Armory homeless shelters close as the mercury falls FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 14:58:18 -0800 (PST)


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Please do what you can in your community to assure homes for all.  Until
then, protest and demand that emergency winter shelters stay open year
round, in California and elsewhere.

http://www.ocregister.com:80/community/armor012w.shtml
FWD  Orange County Register [California, USA]  March 12, 1999

     ARMORY HOMELESS SHELTERS CLOSE AS THE MERCURY FALLS

     Other local facilities are available, but only through the weekend.

     By CAROL MASCIOLA and BONNIE WESTON


   Thursday night was gloomy for Orange County's homeless: It was the last
evening they could sleep at the California National Guard armories, despite
forecasts of cold and wet weather.

   "We don't know where we'll go," said restaurant worker Vicente Carillo,
31, standing outside the Santa Ana Armory on Warner Avenue on Thursday,
waiting to for the shelter to open.

   Temperatures were headed for the low 40s. And rain is forecast for
Monday. But the county's cold-weather homeless program is out of money for
this year.

   Since the county opened its shelters at armories in Fullerton and Santa
Ana last December, they have housed an average of 210 people each night.

   This weekend the homeless may sleep at Salvation Army and Veterans
Charities facilities as they have all season; but come Monday they will be
on their own.

   Where will they all go?

   "I haven't a clue. We know people who sleep in the river bed. There are
little communities out there," said Ray Dominguez, 37, who says a liver
ailment helped push him into homelessness. "We'll have to dodge the police
because they give you a $585 ticket for urban camping if you have anything
over you or under you."

   Shelter operators wanted to keep the facilities open for several more
weeks, but the county, state and federal funds that support the program ran
out.

   Since the shelters opened Dec. 15 under the care of Shelter for the
Homeless, they have provided more than 12,000 bed nights and more than
12,000 hot dinners, hot showers and breakfasts to 995 people.

   Regulars included six families, all with children younger than 6, who
returned almost every night of the season.

   The great majority of shelter patrons were men, who represented more
than 10,000 of the shelters' bed nights; women represented 2,014 and
children 179.

   People 50 and older represented 30 percent of the patrons.

   Judy Kampman of Shelter for the Homeless said that many of the seniors
explained that their Social Security benefits aren't enough to pay Orange
County rents.

   To make their money stretch through the year, she said, they stay as
long as possible at the cold-weather shelter in the winter, and then rent a
motel room or small apartment during the remainder of the year. When their
money runs out, they sleep outside.

   Kampman was happier to report that nearly 200 people who stayed at the
shelters also had jobs and that an additional 34 found work while staying
at the shelter.

   Nine others saved enough money to rent apartments, she said, and 14
entered a longer-term shelter where they can work and save for permanent
housing.

[Shelter for the Homeless is based in Midway City. For more information,
call (714) 897-3221.]

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