SAN PEDRO (CNS) - A Bridge Home facility that will shelter 100 homeless men and women will open Tuesday in San Pedro.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Joe Buscaino were on hand Monday morning for a pre-opening celebration.
"Long before we were hit by this public health crisis called COVID- 19, we said ‘there's another public health crisis and it's called homelessness,’" Garcetti said. "As people have learned how to speak about public health, I hope that same language will be applied to our homelessness crisis."
Harbor Interfaith Services will provide services to people who will temporarily stay at the San Pedro location at 407 N. Beacon St., such as finding them permanent supportive housing and assisting with job searches.
The facility is located on land owned by Caltrans, which Los Angeles is leasing from the state agency.
"We are really excited about this opportunity, we are really excited to have housing for those homeless individuals, we are ready for the challenge," said Tahia Hayslet, executive director of Harbor Interfaith Services. "We are looking forward to going to the streets ... going throughout the South Bay to really figure out ‘how do we provide the services that people who are living on the streets need.’"
This is the 16th A Bridge Home shelter to be opened in Los Angeles. Buscaino said another one will open soon in Wilmington, and another opened last November in Watts.
The city plans to have 24 shelters open by the end of the month, with a goal of having 30 open by the end of the year, providing a total of 2,000 beds.
The need is great. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the homeless count conducted in January found that the county's homeless population increased by 12.7 percent over the previous year, while the city of Los Angeles' homeless population jumped by 14.2 percent.
In January 2019, Los Angeles County had 58,936 homeless people, but this year's number rose to 66,433. The city of Los Angeles counted 36,165 in 2019, and 41,290 in January.
"...While we have certainly dedicated ourselves to getting a majority of the people living on the streets into a more stable and more safe environment, we must also dedicate ourselves to acting with great urgency on achieving this goal" of ending homelessness, Buscaino said.