John (copy)

John, a homeless man, sits in Los Altos Park earlier this year.

It isn't going to be open in time for the Thanksgiving rainstorm, and work on the building will delay the opening another week, but city officials say the winter emergency shelter for the homeless will be available beginning Saturday, Dec. 7.

Los Angeles County pays to operate the shelter, which serves the greater Long Beach area. This year, it is located in west Long Beach, fairly close to the city's Multi-Service Center.

As has been the case in the past, the shelter is a closed facility. That means no one will be admitted if they walk up to the shelter — they must be picked up at designated areas by bus.

Most nights, the shelter will be open from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., and people must stay there for the duration once they check in. They are returned to the pick up points the next morning. If it is raining, the shelter may stay open longer.

U.S.VETS Long Beach, a nonprofit based at the Villages of Cabrillo, will operate the shelter as it has for the last two years. They will provide meals and offer referrals for services to get people permanently off the streets. Showers will be coordinated with the Multi-Service Center.

There will be about 125 beds available. People wishing to go to the shelter will be picked up each evening at 14th Street Park, 14th and Palmer Court; and at the Multi-Service Center, 1301 W. 12th St. There is a third pickup spot in San Pedro.

According to a press release, other year-round shelters include the Samaritan House and Lydia House, operated by the Long Beach Rescue Mission, and Project Achieve and Elizabeth Anne Seton Residence, operated by Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.

Planning also has begun on a city-owned and operated shelter complex on Atlantic Avenue in North Long Beach. Called the Atlantic Avenue Bridge Housing Community, it is planned to include a year-round shelter and permanent supportive housing. The first phase of that property is scheduled to open next June.

For more information about the winter shelter or the city's homeless services efforts, call 562-570-4500 or go to

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

Load comments