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North County Launches Winter Shelter Network


Nine  North County cities have coordinated  with non -profit agencies and the County of San Diego to run a  winter shelter network   designed to get people off the streets. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.


This is the second year North County has a coordinated regional shelter network. Shelters in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and Escondido will offer 240 beds – that’s 50 more than last year.


The residents have to commit to a self improvement program designed to get them into employment and long term housing.


Coordinator Mel Takahara  says the shelters will offer a bed, a warm meal and a place to shower and launder clothes. But he says there isn’t money in the budget for something that makes a big difference to those struggling to get back into the mainstream: a monthly bus pass.  


Takahara: That bus pass really transforms a person’s life rather than figure out how they are going to get back and forth to work or having to walk from place to place.


Takahara says many of those in last year’s program were able to get off the streets.


But he says even though the program has expanded  this year, demand for the places has increased even more, because  of the  economic downturn.


Alison St John, KPBS news.

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