Oakwood winter shelter

Photo courtesy Venice Update (Venice Current)

A winter homeless shelter will be opening at the Oakwood Recreation Center. The recreation center, earmarked to be a shelter for emergencies--had planned to be used last March for the homeless during the COVID-19 crisis. That never happened. 

The center will be home to a co-ed shelter run by Home at Last with 30 beds, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). The doors are expected to open Tuesday, January 26, and operate through March 31, according to LAHSA. On it's [LAHSA's] website it shows most winter shelters opened in October.

The shelter will follow new "Safer at Home" guidelines including daily temperature checks and staff conducting a COVID19 screening questionnaire. Pets and emotional support animals are also welcome. 

On March 18, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a directive for the Oakwood Center --one of thirteen of the City's recreation centers designated for use in emergencies, to be used as temporary emergency shelters for the homeless at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.  

The Mayor highlighted a partnership with the City Council to use $20 million in budget reserve funds on emergency relief efforts — including a plan to add 1,600 emergency shelter beds in those thirteen City recreation centers. That plan was supposed to be up and running in a week's time and scale up to dozens of more locations with more than 6,000 beds provided by the American Red Cross. 

On May 19, 2020, councilmember Mike Bonin told the Palisades News that a Palisades emergency shelter and Oakwood would not become operational. The story does not explain why the shelters never opened their doors.  

Repeated request to LAHSA to learn more about Oakwood not opening last year--and why it is opening so late in the winter have gone unanswered. 

Winter shelters are available to anyone experiencing homelessness who is 18 years old or older, according to LAHSA's website.