AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The shelter’s return marks another year of survival against controversy that has dogged the program. This year’s opening date has been postponed at least twice from the Dec. 9-15 window, partly because Santa Clarita Valley leaders could not agree on a location until a month ago. Winter shelters in Los Angeles County are opened from Dec. 1 until March 15. An earlier proposal by 5th District county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to stage the temporary shelter at the Pitchess Detention Center’s parking lot faltered when some Castaic residents opposed, citing fears that it would bring crime to their neighborhood. With few options and the clock ticking, the homeless shelter once again landed at the county maintenance yard. Antonovich placed it there last year after Santa Clarita City Council members, facing NIMBYs of their own, turned the facility out of the Via Princessa Metrolink station parking lot – its home for two years. It’s uncertain where the shelter is headed next winter. Organizers rebuilding the shelter from scratch had to wait until a Fontana-based builder delivered the trailers, which arrived Friday. “The buildings were always the drivers, and we had to get the modifications,” Preheim said. “Considering, we’re doing very, very well.” Meanwhile, America’s need for emergency food and shelter has grown from a year earlier, according to a 24-city survey released Monday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Overall, requests for food assistance grew by 12 percent during the past year with 76 percent of the cities surveyed reporting an increase. Appeals for shelter assistance rose by 6 percent with 71 percent of cities showing an increase, the annual Hunger and Homelessness Survey said. Among the findings: On average, 18 percent of the requests for emergency food and 14 percent of the requests for emergency shelter are estimated to have gone unmet during the past year. Eighty-seven percent of cities said the length of time that people were homeless, an average of seven months, increased during the past year. Lack of affordable housing topped the list of causes of homelessness. Low-paying jobs, mental illness, substance abuse and other things also were factors. The Santa Clarita Valley in 2005 is home to about 231,921 people, with a median household income of $79,200, according to the Goleta, Calif.-based California Economic Forecast. About 77 people used the shelter last year, the SCCDC said. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] HOW TO HELP The SCCDC is asking volunteers interested in helping at the homeless shelter to meet at 9 a.m. today at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 24901 Orchard Village Road, Valencia. Late-comers can head directly to the shelter at 21190 Centre Pointe Parkway. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – The trailers have been set on the gravel lot, and organizers of the annual winter homeless shelter are now scrambling to get the 40-bed facility ready for Friday night’s opening deadline. The shelter erected at 21190 Centre Pointe Parkway in a county Department of Public Works maintenance yard couldn’t come soon enough for those among us living on the streets as local night temperatures dip into the low 40s. “They’re putting in the buildings now, and they’ll be inspected over the next day or so,” shelter manager Barbara Preheim said Monday. “Fire, electric, building and safety – all those people have to make sure they’re safe.” The Santa Clarita Community Development Corp., which is staging the shelter for the ninth winter, also is enlisting volunteers and their tool boxes to help with set-up today. Donations of bottled water and volunteer cooks are also being sought. “We should be up at the shelter … to start putting everything together – laying out the cots, putting the shelving together, setting up the office, … everything that gets it ready for the client when they walk in the door,” Preheim said.