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West LA Group Tries To Get The Homeless Back On Their Feet

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VENICE (CBSLA.com) — Homeless shelters are up-and-running in 19 locations throughout Los Angeles County.

But one location — in West LA — isn’t just providing a warm meal or bed.  They’re helping the homeless get back on their feet.

CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Bobby Kaple checked out the program running out of Venice.

Johnny, a homeless man, tells him “It feels like razor blades. It’s really cold out there. The weather is bad.”

And it’s going to get worse. Winter hasn’t officially begun.

It’s a cold, crisp night in Venice Beach and the sidewalks are sparse.

The homeless population is looking for warmth. They’re finding it at the “First To Serve Outreach Ministries” (1017 West 50th Street) in West LA.  Many are coming from Venice, by the busload. Sometimes 50 at a time.

Says Johnny, “It’s wonderful. It’s really nice that they help us out and they care for us and do the best they can for everybody.”

Kirk Tyler of “First To Serve” is helping the homeless through HUD funding. “The shelters are here so people don’t get hypothermia,” he says.

At this West LA shelter, there are 160 beds and entertainment — and reports Kaple, hot meals for everyone that stays the night.

Last year, around this time, Jules Arispe was herself homeless. A year later, she’s back but this time as a volunteer. Helping others.

“It’s just so wonderful,” she says, “being healthy and happy and knowledgeable that there is a future … like trying to help out the homeless and let them know there is a possibility to get away from homelessness, they can get a roof.”

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