LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Emergency shelters in Los Angeles and Orange counties will open their emergency winter shelters early as a cold winter storm out of Alaska bears down on Southern California.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority opened six emergency shelters Tuesday, ahead of the powerful storm that’s expected to bring heavy rain, snow, gusty winds and cold temperatures to the region. LAHSA’s shelters were scheduled to open on Dec. 1.
After those shelters were opened, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered that the rest of the winter shelter system open their doors early and identify more sites that could be used as temporary shelters during the storm, which is expected to last until at least Friday.
“We must do all we can to help people be safe indoors during inclement weather,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark-Ridley, who sponsored the motion to immediately open the shelters, said in a statement. “We have a crisis on our hands so we must act with urgency.”
LAHSA has a total of 1,232 beds at 16 locations. They open normally between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., but stay open 24 hours during severe weather conditions.
The City of Los Angeles also acted quickly to open up 500 new emergency shelter beds at various city Recreation and Parks facilities and one church by 10 a.m. Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced.
“The weather we’re expecting this week could be life-threatening for our homeless neighbors,” Garcetti said in a statement.
Further south, the Orange County Armory Emergency Shelter Program also opened their shelters in Santa Ana and Fullerton on a 24-hour basis. The armories have a total of up to 400 beds available through Friday morning.