Los Angeles County homeless shelters open earlier to keep people safe from cold temps

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With overnight temperatures dropping into the 30s in parts of Los Angeles County this week, the 15 homeless shelters run by the county saw 90 percent capacity Tuesday night.

That comes out to about 1,200 beds. Even with other shelters, there's not nearly enough beds for the county's 52,000 homeless population.

"There's always great concern when the temperature drops because people on the streets - they're exposed...What we've done is we coordinate with the county office of emergency management. If the temperature in any two consecutive days during the day goes below 50 degrees, or at night below 40 degrees, we activate our winter shelter round-the-clock operations," said Tim Waldman, with the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority.

Since January, the Midnight Mission has opened at 2 p.m. to offer shelter in the dining hall, but many of those who are homeless will sleep on the streets during this stretch of wet and cold weather.

"I was in downtown L.A. yesterday and it was freezing. I feel sad for the homeless over there, freezing over there. It's sad," Estephon Rivera said.

Rivera is visiting Los Angeles from Puerto Rico and said he didn't expect it to be this cold.

"I got gloves, two jackets on - for me it's cold right now. I'm used to humidity," he said.

There were even snow-capped mountains on display for visitors at Griffith Observatory. Even though the sun was out, the cold air that was made worse by the wind caused anyone outside to bundle up.

"Pine Mountain Club, which is just outside of Frazier Park there, it was 7 degrees this morning. So you guys are still on a warm streak," John Beard said.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.