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Homeless count rises in Glendale

Lack of detoxification programs remains problem for that population.

March 28, 2013|By Brittany Levine,
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: A fairly long line of people gather inside and outside to enter the shelter at the Glendale National Guard Armory on Monday, December 3, 2012. The number of homeless people on Glendale's streets at any one point in time increased 7% last year to 320, according to Glendale's coalition of homeless services providers.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: A fairly long line of people gather inside… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

The number of homeless people on Glendale’s streets increased 7% from last year to 320, according to the latest figures released this week.

The number of transients with mental illnesses and substance abuse issues also ticked up, officials reported, prompting calls for greater focus on detoxification programs, which are missing from the city’s coalition of homeless services providers.

“Detox is a big gap in our community,” said Glendale’s Homeless Services Coordinator Ivet Samvelyan at a meeting with the city’s nonprofit service providers Thursday. “It seems to be a big problem for our homeless population.”

Of the homeless population surveyed during the January 30 count, 12% suffered from both substance abuse and a serious mental illness — up from 5% last year.

[For the Record, March 29, 2012: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the 7% uptick as occuring last year. In fact, the greater number of transients was in comparison to 2012.]


Officials attributed the slight overall bump to the return of a larger emergency winter shelter operation. Glendale’s largest homeless services provider, Ascencia, operated an 80-bed shelter out of the Glendale National Guard Armory, which on many nights took in more than the designated capacity.

Last year, the cities of Glendale and Burbank operated a strict 50-bed program out of the armory on Colorado Boulevard, during which the homeless population dropped by nearly 29% to 293 — down from 299 transients originally reported by the city.

This year’s shelter served 541 individuals — 40% of whom said they were from Glendale and Burbank — over three months starting Dec. 1. Of the 257 adults counted during the January census, 37% said they became homeless in Glendale, compared to 31% the year prior. Children are not asked the question.

Ascencia placed 13 of those who used the shelter in temporary housing and nine in stable housing, program director Mary Leasure said.

“It did make a huge difference in getting some people off the streets,” she said.

But due to automatic spending cuts in the federal budget, known as sequestration, city officials expect homeless services to suffer.

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