The Westside’s Emergency Winter Shelter Program will open six weeks early this year in order to help deal with a sudden and dramatic increase in homelessness in Council District 11, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl announced.

Beginning Oct. 15, 50 shelter beds will be provided by First to Serve each night at the West L.A. Armory. Come December, at least 160 beds will be available at the West L.A. Armory and the Culver City Armory.

With the recent proliferation of homelessness on the Westside that is predominantly on Venice Beach and in Westchester Park, the shelter program is aimed at picking up and transporting the people to those locations.

“Opening this shelter early will provide relief to an increasing number of people who have found themselves without a place to sleep at night,” Villaraigosa said. “I expect some additional support will be allocated for outreach workers and other social service providers to make this effort more meaningful in the long term.”

Villaraigosa and Rosendahl secured $110,000 for the extended program. Of that, $90,000 was reprogrammed in savings from federal block grant money and $20,000 from Rosendahl’s Roadmap to Housing program.

The City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee approved the expenditure Monday, and the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority approved the plan Tuesday.

The L.A. City Council is expected to formally approve the funding next week.

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