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Emergency Winter Shelter Program kicks off in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz warming shelter opens its...

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - UPDATE: November 15th, 5:55 PM

As homelessness continues to be an issue throughout the West Coast, the Santa Cruz County Emergency Winter Shelter Program is debuting an expanded program to help assure the safety and security of homeless individuals.

The North County Winter Shelter opened today at the Salvation Army Santa Cruz Corps Community Center in downtown Santa Cruz, followed by a Nov. 24 shelter opening at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7263 in Live Oak. The two shelters will stay open longer and increase the number of beds, resulting in a nearly 30 percent increase in bed days over last winter.

This year when both sites are open, there will be 110 beds available. The doors at the intake centers will be open from 4pm to 6pm each night, but will not accept guests after that. The shelter will have families staying there and organizers say for security reasons they will be doing quick background checks along with searching personal belongings. 

Program director Debbie Bates says as part of the expansion there will be several new services available, "We have showers at both sites, we have people coming in from HPHP to do medical interventions, we have people coming in from encompass and cal fresh and different programs who can help link people to services that are needed and then there's a washing machine truck."

While the Salvation Army has increased its support for the Emergency Winter Shelter Program by providing shelter services under contract with the County, the Association of Faith Communities has graciously agreed to provide staffing services for a second year.

"Every local jurisdiction has stepped up to increase services for local homeless individuals and increase the number of available beds," Santa Cruz County Homeless Services Coordinator Rayne Marr said. "The need is great. I'd especially like to thank the Salvation Army, the VFW and the Association of Faith Communities for partnering in the North County Winter Shelter. Without them, none of this would be possible."

Marr also says while this program does help get people off of the street during the coldest months, the County is looking at several locations for a permanent solution. "our goal is to have year round shelter really soon so this is just a step to try and increase how many nights of coverage we have," says Marr.

The shelter is still looking for volunteers, particularly the weeks from December 31st to mid January. Volunteers help serve meals, organize shower times or simply talk with the guests. Organizers say they also accept donations and do need a new washer and dryer to help with their services to the homeless community.

The Emergency Winter Shelter Program will remain open until April 15th.
Intake will occur daily from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. at the following locations:
Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun: Salvation Army, 721 Laurel St., Santa Cruz
Tues/Thurs: Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz

 

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As homelessness continues to be an issue throughout the West Coast, the Santa Cruz County Emergency Winter Shelter Program is debuting an expanded program to help assure the safety and security of homeless individuals.

The North County Winter Shelter opened today at the Salvation Army Santa Cruz Corps Community Center in downtown Santa Cruz, followed by a Nov. 24 shelter opening at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7263 in Live Oak. The two shelters will stay open longer and increase the number of beds, resulting in a nearly 30 percent increase in bed days over last winter.

While the Salvation Army has increased its support for the Emergency Winter Shelter Program by providing shelter services under contract with the County, the Association of Faith Communities has graciously agreed to provide staffing services for a second year.

"Every local jurisdiction has stepped up to increase services for local homeless individuals and increase the number of available beds," Santa Cruz County Homeless Services Coordinator Rayne Marr said. "The need is great. I'd especially like to thank the Salvation Army, the VFW and the Association of Faith Communities for partnering in the North County Winter Shelter. Without them, none of this would be possible."

The Emergency Winter Shelter Program will remain open until April 15th. Intake will occur daily from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. at the following locations:
Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun: Salvation Army, 721 Laurel St., Santa Cruz
Tues/Thurs: Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz

KION's Ashley Keehn will have more on these services at 5 and 6.


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