Salinas to open temporary warming shelter in Nov.

Salinas to open temporary warming...

SALINAS, Calif. - The scorching September sun can make it feel like winter is still far away, but those living on the streets of Salinas are aware of what's around the corner.

"Oh yes, I am," said Kenneth Cox, homeless since 2014.

The news of a warming shelter this year traveled fast. On Tuesday, Monterey County and the City of Salinas agreed to put the temporary facility at 111 W. Alisal St., where the Public Defenders’ Office is.

Cox already has the place on his radar.  

"I'm going to try to. It would save me having to worry about over here at the Victory Mission," Cox said.

The warming shelter is a short-term solution to a long-standing, and growing problem for the city.  The homeless population more than doubled from 2015 to 2017.

"The community wants a solution to homelessness. The community wants shelters. They just want them somewhere else and they want someone else to pay for it," said Elliot Robinson, Monterey County social services director.

That, compounded by rising rent, make it hard for individuals and families to get housing.

This time, the county and the city are going to pay for it, beginning with a winter shelter while getting a permanent one in place. And Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter said families will take priority.

"They do for housing, more so than a single male that's out there that may have a drug problem. We have made it a priority to get the children, the families, and seniors off the streets," Gunter said.

The city has a budget cap of $240,000 for this project and the county will make up the rest.

The shelter will be open between November and May.

It's expected to accommodate 70 people, but it will not allow pets.

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