Oxnard homeless winter warming shelter approved

By George Miller

For years, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which has been a Godsend for our community in many ways, ran the winter warming shelter, a last resort for broke, hungry people of the streets.  For whatever reason, the Society announced that they would not be able to do it this year. A scramble ensued to find an organization, resources and facilities to do so. This has been resolved, on a one a one-time basis, at least for the coming winter, with organizations and governments stepping up to run and finance it ($320,000).


2012 Homeless winter warming shelter at Oxnard National Guard Armory. Photo: St, Vincent de paul Society

As you can see from the photo above, the accommodations are far from luxurious. We were told that shelter clients will be bussed in every evening and must leave every morning by 6 am to be bussed back out.

The presentation was made by Arturo Casillas, Housing Director at the 10-27-15 City Council meeting.

This will be a collaboration of Partners: • The City of Oxnard • The City of Ventura • The County of Ventura, and in collaboration with: • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (Los Angeles chapter).

Key people involved in  Oxnard City Council Committee on Homelessness: • Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez • Councilmember Dorina Padilla Oxnard;  Commission on Homelessness • President Peggy Rivera • Other Commissioners.

The project will start preparation shortly, be ready to be open December 2015- March 2016. It will cost $80,000/month, for a total of $320,000.  The Society of  St. Vincent de Paul will act as a project advisor/trainer. The shelter will be operated by Ventura Downtowners Association’s non-profit sister organization, in collaboration with Steven Karnazes and former homeless workers trained by the Rescue Mission.

Funding summary:

• Ventura County – $104,000 • City of Ventura CDBG funds – $41,000 • Society of St. Vincent de Paul – $50,000 • Oxnard Housing Authority Central Fund – $40,000 • City of Oxnard CDBG* – $10,000 • County of Ventura E-FEMA – $75,000. Total: $320,000.

We were told that: there are an estimated 1417 homeless people in Ventura County, with 607 in Oxnard; about 2/3 of county homeless are in Oxnard and Ventura; 2/3 of shelter occupants would be from Oxnard; that the shelter had a peak occupancy of 130 in 2014-15; with a swelling number of homeless and a very wet El Nino season anticipated, it is more critical than ever to be prepared to assist the least fortunate people, who include a high percentage of mentally/emotionally impaired people, children and veterans.

There are three year-round shelters in Oxnard with a combined 185 emergency and transitional beds: • The Rescue Mission – for men only • The Lighthouse – for women • The Kingdom Center – for women and children. These are at capacity.

There seemed to be agreement that the emphasis should be on helping the homeless to obtain permanent housing, along with support services/counseling, which of course is costly. Homeless people are that way due to varying problems, the most prevalent ones being: mental and emotional impairments, alcoholism/drug addiction, poor health, chronic unemployment, divorce, or even by choice. Finding treatment and housing are two greatest needs.

The impact of homelessness is not only on those in that situation, but on the community, too, in the form of resources needed to help the homeless, and sometimes higher crime. Oxnard and Ventura regard the area homeless population as a joint responsibility and even shared a coordinator, Peter Brown.


Relevant meeting agenda materials:

  Housing Department
2. SUBJECT: Winter Warming Shelter for the Homeless. (051)
RECOMMENDATION: 1) That the City Council direct staff to work with the City of Ventura and the County of Ventura, and local non-profit service provider organizations to organize a Winter Warming Shelter for the Homeless and authorize the City Manager, or designee, to execute any necessary agreements and contracts towards this end; and 2) That the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approve and authorize the use of $40,000 of Housing Authority Central Fund reserves to fund the Winter Warming Shelter for the Homeless on a one-time basis.
Legislative Body: CC/HA Contact: Arturo Casillas Phone: 385-8094


Article about 2012 shelter http://svdpla.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html


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