Shelter Plans Expansion

Pasadena Star-News

By Marshall Allen

Union Station Foundation will begin construction on an expansion that will include 20 new beds for homeless women after receiving $1 million from the county of Los Angeles.

County Supervisor Michael Antonovich is scheduled to announce the allocation of county funds today at Union Station, the city’s largest homeless services provider.

Tony Bell, the supervisor’s spokesman, said Union Station incorporates the community into its efforts, which is essential to addressing homelessness.

“It can really make the difference between an effective solution to the homeless problem and a wasteful government program,” Bell said.

Rabbi Marvin Gross, executive director at Union Station, said the county allocation closes the fundraising gap in what has been a six-year $8 million capital campaign. He said he’s “extremely encouraged” by the county’s involvement in the project.

There have been two phases to the expansion of Union Station. The first included building a family center at 825 E. Orange Grove Blvd., which has served about 60 families in its two years of operation.

Construction will begin on the second phase in a matter of weeks, Gross said. It will include expanding the 412 S. Raymond Ave. location to include private case management offices, meeting rooms and 20 beds for homeless women. The site currently has 36 beds for men.

There are about 1,200 homeless people on a given night in Pasadena, and for the first time a 2005 count showed that most were women or children. Gross said there is no question that more beds are needed in Pasadena.

The expansion will be finished in about nine months, after which the organization will be able to serve between 60 and 70 homeless women a year, Gross said.

Gross also said the $1 million allocation is the first “giant gift” Union Station has received from the county. It was part of $20 million allocated for homeless services in the county’s 2005-06 budget. Each of the five supervisors received $3.5 million for their districts.

In previous years, the supervisors allocated money for homeless services solely through the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority, but those funds never made it to Pasadena organizations, said Lauri Glasgow, Antonovich’s budget deputy.

Glasgow said Union Station has a strong track record, is integrated with the community and is financially sound, making it a “very good investment.”

Union Station previously received $1 million from the state toward the shelter’s expansion. Other gifts have come from foundations and private donors.

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