Winter shelters open early in anticipation of El Nino

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Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission opened two shelters on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, nearly a month earlier than usual in anticipation for the El Nino.

Winter shelters for the homeless in Southern California are opening early in anticipation of bad weather to come with the El Nino.

Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission opened two shelters on Sunday, one at the Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church offering 100 beds and another 120 beds available for the homeless at a facility in Sylmar.

The shelters opened about a month early.

"With the increase in rain and storms coming this winter and so many of our homeless friends that do live in precarious locations and if the storms come and the floods come this really is a safe place," said Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission President Ken Craft.

The cold weather shelters will be open for five months instead of three. This comes as forecasters warn of an El Nino that could bring dangerous storms to the Southland during the winter months.

Additional funds have been made available after the Los Angeles City Council declared homelessness an emergency. That declaration followed a 12 percent increase in homelessness over the past two years.

"Usually within two weeks this shelter will be full and every night the same people will be here and we can work with them and our case managers to get them connected to housing and also to help them overcome the barriers that are preventing them from getting into housing right now," Craft said.

The shelters accept walk-ins and can also arrange to pick people up. If you'd like to learn more about the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, click here.
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