2009-12-17 / Front Page

Homeless shelters get busy in a hurry when winter weather hits

With cold winter rains pounding Thousand Oaks, forcing homeless people to find a place with a roof, Lutheran Social Services’ winter homeless shelter opened just in time.

About 20 people checked in by the 8 p.m. deadline to sleep over the first night, Dec. 1.

“Some of our old people haven’t shown up. I hope they’re okay,” winter shelter manager Diana Ortuno said.

She expects to see more people as the month continues.

“They get their disability checks at the first of the month. As money runs out, they come to us for help,” she said.

The shelter also provides a hot meal each night. About 40 churches, synagogues, clubs and individuals take turns preparing the meals. Most have done it for years. In the past they usually expected no more than 40 for dinner, but lately between 50 and 100 have been showing up for the free food, Ortuno said.

“We encourage people to come to the dinner so they can use the money they save on groceries to pay their rent and avoid becoming homeless,” Ortuno said.

Even when more than expected come, everyone eats.“We open up cans of soup or order pizzas. Everyone gets fed,” Ortuno said.

Dinner check-in is at 5:45 p.m. That program is year-round. The overnight winter shelter runs from December through March. (See schedule below.)

Those hoping to stay overnight need to have proof of identity and a TB test record as required by law.

The homeless can use donations of backpacks, hamburger gift coupons, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, deodorant, shampoo, soap and razors. These items can be dropped off at Lutheran Social Services, 80 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks.

For more information, call (805) 497-6207.

—Nancy Needham

Dinner and overnight winter shelter sites

Dec. 1- March 31

Monday: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1 W. Avenida de Los Arboles, Thousand Oaks

Tuesday: Calvary Community Church, 5495 Via Rocas, Westlake Village

Wednesday: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 32111 Watergate Road, Westlake Village

Thursday: Chinese Christian Church, 218 W. Janss Road

Friday: United Methodist Church, 1000 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks

Saturday: St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church, 2475 Borchard Road, Newbury Park

Sunday: Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks

Return to top