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MHALA opens emergency shelter in Antelope Valley

MHALA staff wading across flooding waters during Hurricane Hilary

In response to Hurricane Hilary, Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA) opened an emergency shelter in Antelope Valley for unhoused community members impacted by the storm. The shelter, which provides housing and food, can accommodate 180 people and their pets.

MHALA’s outreach teams have been working tirelessly to provide shelter and emergency supplies, including tents, tarps, ponchos, food cards, and solar phone chargers, in the days leading up to the storm. As the storm hit Sunday morning, the team was able to relocate 38 people from the flooding riverbeds into safe housing. The local fire department was available to assist with helicopters and ladders to help get people to safety.

“We were able to get people out in less than two hours, once the water started coming in,” said Jannette Rinkenberger, MHALA’s director of outreach services, north county. “I’m so impressed by how quickly our team moved to make this happen.”

With a lack of available hotel rooms to relocate people, a decision was made to open an emergency shelter at Jackie Robinson Park in Sun Village. The shelter was opened in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.