Weekend storms brought plenty of excitement and much needed precipitation to Los Angeles. However, the rainy weather doesn’t seem to have brought crowds to the region’s emergency homeless shelters, according to a report from KPCC. LA County’s 16 winter shelters in were only operating at 70-80 percent capacity over the weekend, with a shelter in Lancaster barely filling half of its beds.
A scathing report from Los Angeles County’s Civil Grand Jury released in January drew attention to the woeful lack of emergency shelters set to assist the area’s many homeless individuals. Now that the rains have come, however, the shelter beds that are available don’t seem to be filling up.
Part of the problem might be a strict no pets policy that the county is considering changing. Many people living without shelter have pets, and this issue has stirred controversy in the past. Regardless of the pet policy, however, the winter shelters may face more challenging obstacles that prevent them from operating at capacity.
As the 2015 homeless count conducted by the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) reveals, homeless residents of Los Angeles are spread out all over the county. Simply informing people of available resources is a challenge, and authorities have occasionally struggled to convince people to accept help.
Whatever obstacles there are, it is clear that the city and county may need to find better ways to serve the more than 30,000 unsheltered residents left vulnerable in heavy storms like this one.