Center to halt its services at ASL [Corrected]

Relief and Resource Center had been providing daytime services for the homeless, but will now expand elsewhere.

September 15, 2011|By Barbara Diamond

The Laguna Beach Relief and Resource Center will discontinue daytime services for the city's homeless population at the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) on Oct. 15.

City officials said options are being discussed, but they declined further comment on the talks held this week with representatives of the Friendship Shelter, which is contracted by the city to operate the ASL at night, and the resource center, which has determined it does not have the financial resources to continue its work at the ASL as well as its other operations.

An earlier version incorrectly stated that the Laguna Beach Relief and Resource Center couldn't continue working at the Alternative Sleeping location or its other operations. In fact, the center says it can't work at ASL and do its other operations, so it's cutting back on the ASL.

"Because we will no longer operate at the ASL, we will be able to expand services to low-income families and the homeless, as well as be available in disasters," said resource center board President Andy Sigenfeld.


The center was founded in the wake of the 1993 firestorm and later expanded its mission to help Laguna's needy, but it's always at the forefront of assistance to victims of disasters — mudslides, landslides and floods.

An agreement with the city to operate the daytime services at the sleeping location was a solution to finding a home for the center a couple of years ago when it lost its lease.

"The program was designed to help the center relocate," said City Manager John Pietig. "The guidelines for the ASL were established by the city, and we work closely with them."

The center donated $65,000 and agreed to pay $950 a month for the use of the ASL during the day, which included providing showers and laundry facilities to the homeless.

Under a separate contract, the center agreed to pay $1,000 a month to rent another building on the site that is used to store and distribute clothing and food.

Sigenfeld said recent published reports that the center is broke and bills are unpaid are absolutely untrue.

The center plans to continue to occupy the smaller building called the Pantry, from which food, clothing and helpful information is dispensed.

"We will be doing casework and be a resource for low-income families and the homeless — directing them to medical and social services," Sigenfeld said. "We will be servicing a much larger segment of the population."

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