Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl is calling on residents and business owners to help two emergency winter shelters serving the Westside’s homeless population.
Rosendahl said the shelters, based at federal armories in West Los Angeles and Culver City, need volunteers and donations of food, clothing, and other supplies, as well as monetary donations.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Westside residents to show their hearts and contribute positively to the community,” Rosendahl said. “We have the ability and the responsibility to share some of our blessings.”
Through a combination of funding sources, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has contracted with Eimago, Inc., a social service agency affiliated with the Union Rescue Mission, to operate two emergency shelters on the Westside through March. The two facilities provide shelter for an average of 310 people per night.
Michael Tomkins, administrator of both the West Los Angeles and Culver City programs, said both shelters need volunteers to bring desserts and help serve dinner. While New Directions provides dinner nightly at both facilities, administrators hope local restaurants or residents could provide desserts, fresh fruit or other snacks.
Individuals or group organizations that could provide fun activities and entertainment, such as karaoke and bingo, are also encouraged to participate, Tomkins said.
The shelters also need donations of paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils and cups, backpacks, umbrellas, socks, clothing, blankets, baseball caps, feminine hygiene products and toiletries.
Rosendahl, who recently visited both shelters, said addressing homelessness will require “a holistic approach” — from elected officials and from the community.
“As elected officials, my colleagues and I need to make sure that the people who seek shelter get shelter, but also get connected to healthcare, social services, and job opportunities,” the councilman said. “At the same time, members of the community can help the winter shelter program and other local service agencies. This needs to be the work not just of a government agency, but of our community.”
Due to a funding shortfall and other issues, the Westside Winter Shelter Program, which has operated since 1989, was almost eliminated this year, Rosendahl said.
Rosendahl, Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition intervened, secured funding and found a new operator.
To volunteer at or to donate to either shelter, Michael Tomkins at (213) 347-6300, ext 5242.