Problems with homeless winter warming shelter for Oxnard ?

Major funding shortfall so far

By George Miller

According to the 2016 “Point in Time” homeless count, Ventura County has an estimated 1271 homeless with 584 in Oxnard.  We had previously heard estimates of 1800 homeless with about 1200 in Ventura and Oxnard. There might be more when one considers all those quietly living in cars, RV’s and moving around among houses of friends.


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

Every year, Oxnard and Ventura seem to scramble to figure out how to keep a hundred or so homeless people from dying of exposure. 

Others are helped by various charities or just fend for themselves. 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. Some new capacity is in process, but it will still be insufficient.

On tonight’s Oxnard City Council meeting agenda was an item to approve the City’s contribution for a warming shelter, to go along with funds from county, state, other cities and charitable organizations. Other agenda items took longer than planned, so they ran out of time and this item never got covered, putting it off until the 11/15 meeting. Still no problem, because the shelter wouldn’t open until December. But that’s cutting it close.


11-1-16 agenda item:

  Housing Department
2. SUBJECT: Funding Request for Homeless Winter Shelter
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council approve and authorize the use of $30,000 of Salary Savings from the Housing Department to fund a Winter Warming Shelter for the Homeless at the Ventura National Guard Armory for the 2016-2017 winter.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Arturo Casillas Phone: 385-8094
Document: N-2 PowerPoint

Last year, $332,208 was budgeted for the shelter, raised from multiple sources. Winter of 2016-17 cost estimates total $365,000.  It will get much harder this year without St. Vincent de Paul involved, since they are focusing on other approaches and warned Oxnard that last year would be the last time they would participate. SSVDP is concentrating on year-round shelters with the services needed to truly help the homeless and get them off the streets into permanent living arrangements.

This years’ proposed funding, per Arturo Casillas, Oxnard Housing Director:

Oxnard CDBG (block grants)   $39,000
Oxnard General Fund   $30,000
Ventura CDBG  (block grants)   $31,000
Ventura General Fund   $30,000
Emergency FEMA Shelter   $15,000
Subtotal $145,000
Other possible .
County of Ventura                           $120,000
City of Camarillo   $10,000
Other County Cities   $10,000
Private Funding   $20,000
Emergency FEMA   $60,000
Subtotal $220,000
Grand Total $365,000

Homeless advocate and former Homeless Commission member Peggy Rivera told us that the situation is even worse than it looks. She indicated that the County of Ventura, which Oxnard is counting on to contribute $120,000, was not able to get to discussing/voting on it, per John Zaragoza. So it won’t be considered until November 15, which is really cutting it close. The other possible funds of $220,000 haven’t actually been committed yet. She referred to that category as “a wish list.”

The plan is to use the recently renovated National Guard Armory in Ventura, but this is still in the negotiating stage. Rivera says if that falls through, it would likely move to the Oxnard armory. There is also talk about extending the shelter hours, she said, so guests won’t be forced to leave early in the morning. But it wouldn’t be every day and the armory hasn’t agreed on what the costs would be, at this point.


Homeless advocate Peggy Rivera, shown here with her “Sabor Maggie’s Best” line of salsa and other food, sold in some regional stores.


Last year’s report:

Oxnard homeless winter warming shelter approved

Oxnard homeless winter warming shelter approvedBy 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. […]

George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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William "Bill" Hicks
William "Bill" Hicks
3 years ago

For more information how Thousand Oaks manages Winter Shelters please contact Calvary Community Church at (818) 991-8040.

William "Bill" Hicks
William "Bill" Hicks
3 years ago

In Thousand Oaks, there is a coalition between several Churches that take turns at hosting winter shelters. This might be something to consider for other parts of Ventura County.