Rain prompts local winter shelters to extend operation hours

Shelter beds are seen at Antelope Valley's only homeless shelter in this file photo.
Shelter beds are seen at Antelope Valley's only homeless shelter in this file photo.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

As a storm sweeps through parts of Southern California this holiday weekend, most winter shelters in the area will stay open around the clock through Sunday morning.

Starting Friday evening, a low-pressure system is expected to bring up to 2.5 inches of rain to the foothills and the San Gabriel Mountains. A flash flood watch will be in effect through Saturday morning for recent burn areas, according to Scott Sukup with the National Weather Service.

Southern California saw light showers Friday morning, but that's expected to change. 

"We’re really expecting the heaviest rain to move in early this evening and overnight tonight,” Sukup told KPCC.

Nine locations will be open around the clock starting 5 p.m., including Highland Park, Skid Row, South Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's Tom Waldman. The extended period will end 7 a.m. Sunday. 

“Residents of the shelters will be able to stay throughout that period and won’t have to go out into the rain and cold during the day," he told KPCC. 

Pet accommodations are provided at some sites, in addition to temporary emergency shelter and access to supportive services. Lunch will also be provided at all locations.

The organization's staff have been out encouraging the homeless to head to a shelter to escape the rain.

“Not all those living in the streets are immediately agreeable to going into winter shelters, for whatever reason," Waldman said. "So we make an extra effort to tell them, with the cold and rain coming, that it’s in their own interest and the interest of their health to go into winter shelters.” 

He also said there's a particular concern for people who live in the city's riverbeds because of the high risk of flooding during a storm.

“The homeless problem is extensive in Los Angeles County and so, we have sites around the county where people can go. Accessibility is the important thing," he said.

All of LAHSA's Winter Shelter Program locations will remain open until March 1 under normal operation hours, unless otherwise prompted by the weather, Waldman added.

You can see LAHSA's winter shelter locations, numbers and ride schedules below: