The city has withdrawn an offer to purchase the Scott Motel for use as transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness, a city official confirmed. Burbank’s Community Development Department had presented the plan to the City Council in September, explaining that staff members hoped to purchase and arrange to rehabilitate the motel for $4.9 million, $2.8 million of which could potentially come from the state’s Project Roomkey grant program. The 11 units of the motel could then be used to temporarily house homeless individuals. But when the expected property manager, the nonprofit Burbank Housing Corp., toured the property, its representatives “found a number of concerning items,” according to Simone McFarland, the city’s assistant community development director and communications manager.
Ascencia, a homelessness outreach nonprofit with locations in Glendale and Burbank, never gives up. “We have a client that originally was in our shelter and she hit the length of stay,” said Ascencia program director Kiara Payne, citing a case that displayed the agency’s doggedness. “In our shelter we have a 60-day stay, and once they are in the shelter we kind of have to exit them to the street if we’re not able to get them housing.” Although the client was homeless, living on the street, Ascencia continued to explore housing options for her. The efforts were ramped up when the woman was identified as susceptible to COVID-19. With the nonprofit’s help, she was placed in a hotel in March through Project Roomkey — which is run by the state, county and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority — and in August, Ascencia secured housing for the client. By November, she was homeless no more. Although restrictions due to the pandemic have changed the way Ascencia operates, its goal has remained the same.
With only a month until the Nov. 3 general election, local candidates have shifted into high gear, fighting for the prospect of a seat in City Hall or on the Burbank Unified School District board. The candidates participated Wednesday in a series of forums, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank, allowing the contenders to answer major questions posed by the group as well as some submitted by local residents. The forums were streamed and are available on the Burbank Channel on YouTube. Eight people are looking to nab one of two open seats on the City Council. New council members elected in November will have their positions for four years. Four people are vying to win one of three open BUSD Board of Education seats, also held for four years. Each candidate previously submitted a statement to the Leader. These statements can be found at outlooknewspapers.com. Here is an abridged overview of the topics the candidates were asked about. For the City Council candidate forum, each question was given to only some of the candidates, though all had the opportunity to respond to any question at the end of the forum.