Shelter Partnership celebrated the completion of a 24-month rehabilitation
and greening of its 108,000 square foot S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter
Resource Bank today at the annual lunch and tour of the facility.
Major funding for the project came from the S. Mark Taper Foundation; the
project is the Foundation’s largest investment into homelessness to date.
"Working with Shelter Partnership gave the Foundation an opportunity to make a
single investment, which will continually serve hundreds of agencies serving the
homeless throughout the county," remarked Ray Reisler, Executive Director of the
S. Mark Taper Foundation.
The event featured Fritz Coleman, KNBC 4 Weathercaster, as host and live
entertainment by Washington Rucker and the Jazz Collection. More than 200
supporters and community members served by the project attended, including the
Honorable Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
Tours highlighting the green design elements of the refurbished facility were
given throughout the day. According to John S. Egan, architect and construction
manager for the project, "Among the green features are a reflective cool roof,
low flow toilets and faucets, motion activated lighting throughout the
warehouse, and recycled, natural or no-formaldehyde materials for walls and
ceiling. The electrical and water consumption plans beat state environmental
standards by 50%." The architects were elated to preserve the original wood
beams supporting the warehouse roof and 1940’s World War II architectural
elements. The striking 80-foot high ceilings, beams, and walls were whitewashed
with low VOC paint and large windows running the length of the warehouse were
replaced with low-E glass maintaining the abundant natural lighting.
The S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank, the largest of
its kind in the nation, has been an active distribution center for basic new
provisions under Shelter Partnership for 20 years. The project provides
necessities such as new baby clothing, diapers, personal hygiene products,
household goods, books and toys, and men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and
shoes to over 200 agencies serving the homeless and at-risk in Los Angeles
County each year.
Aisles of floor-to-ceiling shelving are neatly organized with hundreds of
pallets filled with goods that are electronically tracked, inventoried, and
distributed. In the most recent year alone the project distributed nearly $8
million of goods. Since 1989, more than $150 million in products have been
distributed. For the emergency, transitional and permanent housing providers
these provisions enable them to focus on other priorities such as funding for
supportive services and operational expenses. "We’ve received a quarterly
shipment from Shelter Partnership since they opened the warehouse in 1989. Last
year, as the economic crisis forced families out of homes and jobs, these goods
were instrumental in helping us to meet the tsunami of people seeking
assistance," shared Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission.
There is a sense of purpose about the warehouse. It is well organized,
spotless from floor to ceiling, the staff is professional, methodical and
optimistic about their work. Among the sea of cardboard boxes, some with items
taped to the outside of the box indicating what is inside – singing
toothbrushes, teddy bears, polo shirts, tennis shoes, professional clothing–
there is a sense of the local family or individual who may receive the special
"Shelter Partnership was founded on the principle that homelessness can
happen to anyone; it’s complex, it can be long-term or sudden, it sometimes
requires assistance in multiple disciplines. We were established to help in both
the development of housing for the homeless as well as providing some of the
basic necessities," said Ruth Schwartz, co-founder and Executive Director of
Other major foundation funding for the rehabilitation came from the Weingart
Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, The Rose
Hills Foundation, and the W.M. Keck Foundation. In July 2007, the U.S.
Departments of General Services Administration (GSA) and Health and Human
Services (HHS) conveyed the warehouse to Shelter Partnership at no cost.
Learn more about the S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank
including photos and video of the event, please visit