St. John Vianney can’t shelter homeless this year

For the first time in 19 years, the homeless will not find shelter at St. John Vianney Catholic Church this winter.

Delays in processing an insurance claim for a devastating arson fire that destroyed the church’s sanctuary have led to the cancelation of the church’s homeless shelter, according to church officials.

The service-oriented church at Turnbull Canyon Road and Palm Avenue has participated in the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless’s winter shelter program since its inception, said Carol Lazarovits, the church’s outreach coordinator.

The nonprofit Coalition – which rotates the shelter between area churches – has already found another church to take St. John Vianney’s slot from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1, Lazarovits said.

“The Coalition wouldn’t let that happen,” Lazarovitis said of the possibility of leaving the homeless without shelter.

The First Chinese Baptist Church in Walnut will be pinch hitting for St. John Vianney, confirmed Bob McKennon, who works with the Coalition and is a St. John Vianney church member.

The Coalition has booked seven host churches to provide winter shelters – beds, showers and meals – from December to March. The first shelter opens Dec. 1 at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church, 629 S. Glendora Ave., in West Covina.

Removing the Hacienda Heights church from the rotation was something Rev. Tim Nichols did not want to see happen.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story homeless.

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