Finding shelter can be challenging for individuals experiencing homelessness. When the weather temperature begins to drop, shelter spaces become even more scarce, leaving our most vulnerable neighbors at risk. Earlier this year, it was reported that more homeless people die of the cold in Los Angeles than in New York. While Los Angeles is known for its nice weather, there are still days that are cold enough to cause people living outside to experience hypothermia.
Most recently, L.A. County winter shelter programs typically slated to open on December 1 to provide shelter from the cold were unable to open early to those without a home from the heavy rain that began just days before Thanksgiving. Lacking was operational funds, staff and even having care necessities such as food and donated clothing available.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles in response rallied local community and public partners to get temporary shelters open immediately to provide some kind of option for shelter. Beginning with what would be the Storm Fund, which raised enough dollars to provide small grants to over 10 grassroots organizations to provide direct support to help unsheltered individuals survive the storm in regions across LA. Additionally, along with staff, managed to recruit up to 200 volunteers over the holiday weekend to provide assistance at understaffed facilities. Finally yet importantly, donated $50,000 worth of items such as: clothing (socks, underwear, and sweats), ponchos, hygiene items, pet food, tarps, sleeping bags, power banks, snacks/food, and water, etc.
While, the Storm Fund was successful in providing shelter on the early part of this seasons weather front, heavy rains continue to fall and many are still out in the street despite the availability of L.A. County Shelters. Simply put, the best solution is a permanent shelter solution in assuring everyone has a place to call home. If you are looking to be a part of the solution this holiday season here are three ways you can participate to help:
- Assist a person in need by talking to them and consulting the LAHSA hotline or list of augmented winter shelter sites.
- Make a donation during our end of year giving campaign
- Become an advocate and learn more about how you can make a greater impact as a spokesperson for your community.
We thank you for your support in helping during this time of need.