Homeless shelter gets name, opening date

Phase II could bring transitional housing

A look inside on of many shelters used by the homeless along the river bed.

The new homeless services center is on track to open for operation on December 1.

The shelter, meant to be a permanent replacement to the current Emergency Temporary Winter Shelter that operates from December to March, is now called the Homeless Opportunities Meals and Empowerment (HOME) Resource Center.

“That’s a damn good name,” San Benito County Board Chairman Jaime De La Cruz said at last Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Supervisors approved the name during the meeting as Health and Human Services Agency Director Jim Rydingsword reported on the new shelter located at 1161 San Felipe Road.

The shelter, which started construction in early August, will have 50 beds, 28 for male and 22 for female individuals.

The phased construction project has a $3 million budget. Phase I is expected to be completed by mid-November.

Phase I includes the sleeping areas, bathrooms, an office, lobby and dining space. Phase II will add a kitchen and possibly transitional housing units.

“We were talking a few weeks ago, because we have this space leftover,” Rydingsword said. “There’s some funding available that we would like to at least put an application in for.”

Funding is available from the California Department of Finance for transitional housing, which is defined as units people can live in for two years while they search for permanent housing. Rydingsword said the county could apply for around $2 million in funds.

“Basically it’s a room, maybe 150 to 200 square feet. It has a community kitchen and facilities for toilets and stuff. We think we could actually get 10 units in there.”

Applying for the funds doesn’t require a local match.

Discussions with multiple potential partners like the California Community Economic Development Association and Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association (CHISPA) could drum up more funding for the HOME Resource Center.

“You have to look at this as we’re doing something that’s hopefully going to last for 50, 60, 70 years. If we do this right, it’s all paid for upfront. There’s no county general fund involved.”

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