The City of Ventura is moving forward with plans to open it’s first full service, year-round homeless shelter.
The proposed shelter would be on Knoll Drive in a building currently owned by the county. The shelter will have enough room to house 55 homeless people.
“It’s an opportunity to have a full-service shelter for homeless where they can come here to get off the streets be serviced by the county and other social service providers to help them deal with the issues that put them on the street to begin with,” said Community Development Director, Jeff Lambert.
The city council set aside $600,000 to make this project a reality.
“This is the gap we’ve always had and now we are trying to fill that gap with the shelter,” said Lambert. “It’s really critical that we do this now.”
Nancy Collins runs a shop across the street called, The Joy of Living. She says she is happy but also hesitant about the shelter.
“I was overjoyed that there was finally going to be a place for the homeless someplace where they could shelter and possibly have a step up,” said Colling. “But it’s those that have the mental problems that make me a little nervous.”
Lambert says one crucial part of the progress is engagement with local businesses.
“We want to make sure businesses know what this is and what this isn’t because what it isn’t is a walk- in shelter,” said Lambert. “It’s not the place where people wander in. It’s a shelter where they come in through a coordinated entry system.”
City officials hope to have the first floor of the shelter open by the beginning of the year.