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LAHSA activates winter shelter program in response to homeless killings

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Friday activated its winter shelter program in an attempt to provide additional safety for unhoused individuals in response to the fatal shootings of three homeless people in separate attacks.

The authority in a statement announced its Augmented Winter Shelter Program will be available through Monday night. Authority officials are urging unsheltered homeless individuals to gather with others, seek shelter, and if they must sleep outside, not to sleep alone.

"We are horrified by these senseless acts of violence against people experiencing homelessness. LAHSA, the homeless rehousing system, and our partners across the city and county of Los Angeles are working to help as many of our unsheltered neighbors as possible sleep safely by making additional resources available and focusing outreach efforts on vulnerable individuals," LAHSA CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum said in a statement.

Though the program will be online for the next couple of days, additional beds during this period will be given with a higher priority for unsheltered individuals who sleep alone.

According to LAHSA, individuals meeting this criteria interested in obtaining a motel bed should call the organization at 211 or the shelter hotline at 213-683-3333.

In addition to traditional shelters at fixed sites in the city and elsewhere in Los Angeles County, the Augmented Winter Shelter Program provides additional interim housing options during activation periods, typically during severe weather to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness via motel vouchers.

The new Augmented Winter Shelter Program model of using motel vouchers began last year for the 2022-23 season. Last season, 5,402 people utilized the Augmented Winter Shelter Program, a 652% increase over the 2021-22 season.

The Winter Shelter Program began on Nov. 1 and will end March 31.

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