Homeless shelter program open

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has announced that its Winter Shelter Program is open.

The program, which is funded by the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, is deployed during the coldest months of the year.

Over 1,400 beds at 16 locations in Los Angeles, as well as Antelope Valley, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and South Bay, are made available for temporary overnight shelter. Meals and access to a variety of supportive services are also provided.

LAHSA works with local nonprofit organizations to provide transportation and services. The community service organization First to Serve is offering 160 beds to the West Los Angeles area.

Transportation to First to Serve will be provided by LAHSA on Market Street at Ocean Front Walk on the Venice Beach boardwalk, at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Walk-in clients will not be accepted at this shelter.

On the first night of the program, First to Serve had 90 beds occupied, said Peter Griffith, communications director at LAHSA. “We expect those numbers to go up during the season.”

Access to shelters in the program is available to individuals on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, families seeking shelter should call 211 to be connected with service providers that specialize in delivering services specifically for families.

The program will be open until March 14, 2012. For more information, including shelter schedules and pick-up points, call (800) 548-6047 or visit

— Colin Newton


Planet Raw certified kosher

Since 2000, Planet Raw on Broadway has been offering up organic, vegan dishes that are never cooked above 120 degrees.

And since October, they have been certified kashruth year round, excluding Passover.

The decision to get certified was a way to expand the restaurant’s clientele, said Taylor Smith, general manager of Planet Raw.

“We had some kosher customers come in, and we were really disappointed we had to turn them away,” she said.

Going kosher was a simple transition for Planet Raw.

“Because we offer no meat or dairy, it was [easy] for us to become kosher,” Smith said.

There was no major upheaval in the menu, and the only real change was the way the restaurant washed its vegetables, she said.

Now, the only thing on the menu that’s not kosher is the wine.

“We can open up to a whole new community,” Smith said.

— CN

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