By Staff Writer
As a first step toward providing services appropriate for women, L.A. County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a motion by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Kathryn Barger directing the County to use Measure H funds to transform the Sylmar Armory which has operated as an emergency winter shelter into year-round bridge housing for women.
Bridge housing provides service-intensive emergency housing with the goal of placing individuals in permanent housing as quickly as possible. Many homeless women in the Valley head to Santa Monica and surrounding beach cities when unable to find shelters locally.
Currently, in Service Planning Area 2 in the San Fernando Valley where Sylmar is located, 2,762 women are homeless.
Supervisor Kuehl, co-author of the motion, said, “We are taking a significant step forward with this new program. Only 17 percent of emergency shelter beds are dedicated for women and yet women represent nearly twice that percentage of people experiencing homelessness.”
Nearly one-third of the people in L.A. experiencing homelessness are women and a recent report by the L.A. Homeless Services Authority identified an urgent need for services that specifically address women’s needs.
L.A. Family Housing will operate the program which could open as early as December.
“With colder winter months quickly approaching, this effort furthers the goal of Measure H by providing crisis housing for more than 2,500 women experiencing homelessness in the San Fernando Valley,” said Supervisor Barger, the motion’s co-author. “This short-term crisis housing will include access to long-term housing options and supportive systems to help these women rebuild their lives.”