Armory in Sylmar might be Converted into Housing for Homeless Woman
In October, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to convert an armory in Sylmar that is used as an emergency winter shelter into a year-round facility for homeless women. The armory will provide “bridge housing,” which will consist of a shelter and support services to help transition women into permanent housing. The motion passed due to a shortage of shelter beds that created a debate in the county over whether to provide short-term shelter beds or long-term housing. The motion directed the county’s chief executive office and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to come up with a comprehensive plan to use Measure H funds to increase shelter capacity in the county. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who co-introduced the motion and whose district includes Sylmar, stated,
Women desperately need housing and services. I am very grateful to the community leaders in Sylmar who worked so diligently with my office to develop this proposal.
The armory is owned by the National Guard and has operated as an overnight shelter during the winter for over 20 years. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority will use Measure H funding to contract with L.A. Family Housing to operate a program for women that includes 85 beds. The facility was originally going to be a “navigation center” for men and women, but L.A. Family Housing and Kuehl changed that plan after hearing from locals and receiving a report that examined the homelessness among women in the San Fernando Valley. The report from the Homeless Services Authority, which analyzed data from the county’s annual homeless count, was released in August and found that there were 2,762 unsheltered women in the San Fernando Valley. The report also revealed that unsheltered women were more likely than men to have been victims of violence and sex trafficking. It is not known yet how long it will take this plan to go into affect given the ongoing Creek Fire that started in the area on Dec. 5, 2017.