A San Fernando Valley homeless shelter that burned to the ground last year is set to be replaced by a new shelter Monday, providing housing for three times as many people as before the fire.
The Home Again Shelter will open in place of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, which caught fire last May, causing $2 million in damage and leaving 29 people, most of them children, homeless.
Home Again will provide 90 beds, as opposed to 30 in the previous shelter, and will focus on families, the fastest growing sector of Los Angeles' homeless population.
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"We're 500,000 units behind in LA County when it comes to affordable housing," said Wade Trimmer, Executive Director of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission. "Not many people want affordable housing in their neighborhoods."
Home Again is unique in its approach because it is strictly a shelter for families, and those who live there will be expected to actively contribute.
"This is not a hotel, it’s not a retreat center, this is a program," Trimmer said. "This is a place where you work hard."
Some of the shelter’s former residents will return to live and volunteer at Home Again, like 15-year-old Georgina Rodriguez, whose family lived in a U-Haul truck after the old shelter burned down.
"This is just like a place where you can come," Rodriguez said. "You’re with a bunch of people that love you and support you and are there for you."