Thursday, March 7, 2013
After eight years in an empty warehouse, the Vista winter shelter finally raised enough money to renovate and build a new compound around a small courtyard. It has a dozen rooms and 46 beds for homeless families.
Two new homeless shelters are opening in North County. Both of them have been years in the making.
Beth Halleck, Director of Operation Hope, said construction delayed the opening three months, but the families that have moved in will have time to get the help they need to get back on their feet.
“We are full,” she said. “We have all our bed occupied. We have 24 children and the rest are adults: one father and the rest are women. We’re still going to stay open four months. It takes about four months to get case management worked through and get things going for the clients.”
The project includes a learning center where clients learn skills like computing. Hallek said construction of two new buildings and renovation of a third cost about $700,000. It came mostly from private donations. Local cities also contributed to the shelter, which has an annual budget of about $175,000. Operation Hope will now focus on raising money to keep the shelter open year round, so clients can cycle through at any time.
Meanwhile in Carlsbad, Catholic Charities is nearing completion on a permanent shelter for farm workers, all men. Sister Raymonda Duvall said it will replace temporary structures at La Posada de Guadalupe that have housed farm workers for the last 20 years.
“We think it’s important to get the farm workers out of the fields,” she said, “out of the canyons, to give them a place where it's safe, warm and clean. Where they have access to case management and help in finding a permanent place to live.”
The new buildings, which include two dormitories with 50 beds each, and one communal area, cost $2.4 million. Most of the money came from mitigation fees charged developers when land previously used for agriculture is turned over for development.
Some of the men may be transported from as far away as Escondido. Duvall said the buildings are designed to be flexible so they can be modified to provide services for changing needs. There will be a ribbon cutting later this summer.