EAST BEAMER STREET HOUSING OPENING TO HOMELESS: New Year’s move-in scheduled for Woodland facility
If all goes well, then the first of dozens of Woodland’s homeless residents will be moving into the new East Beamer Street shelter during coming weeks, making for a belated Christmas gift and a welcome new year.
The most significant change? The extra room in the 6,500-square-foot, single-story facility that is split into separate sections for men and women, say representatives of Fourth & Hope and Friends of the Mission, which will be managing the facility.
Woodland’s Fourth & Hope, by contrast, is considerably smaller and cramped, providing little space between beds as well as a smaller cafeteria and conference rooms. That could mean some adjustments for both clients and staff.
Earlier this week, volunteers were putting together metal tables to be used for outdoor dining, assembling indoor tables in a communal facility. Metal beds were scheduled to arrive on Thursday and Friday.
The first residents were also scheduled to be moved into the facility at 1901 E. Beamer St. next week and into the new year.
Already in place are a mobile kitchen, restrooms and laundry. All that’s needed is power, which was being connected this week as well, eliminating the reliance on 5,000-watt generators.
The $2.3 million shelter will initially house as many as 70 people in need of services. Ultimately, after the coronavirus pandemic has passed, the facility will be able to handle 100 people, providing them with all-around services such as mental health and job counseling, drug treatment and healthcare.
A collaboration with Yolo County and Fourth & Hope, the project has been under construction since June and is being touted by the Woodland City Council as a model for providing wrap-around services to get the homeless off the streets.
The shelter and ancillary buildings take up eight acres of a 128-acre site donated by the city. The remaining 120 acres will remain city property.
Acting last week, the Woodland City Council voted 5-0 to ratify a series of property conveyances that allows the Friends of the Mission to take over and operate the facility now that certificates of occupancy have been approved. A temporary certificate had been issued earlier because power was being provided by generators due to a delay in hook-ups by PG&E. Once permanent power is provided, then a permanent certificate will be issued.
Deputy Community Development Director Stephen Coyle said a mobile kitchen, five-stall bathroom, and laundry have all be placed on-site and that “for all essential purposes construction has been done. Residents are expected to start moving in the week of Dec. 28, which should remove a percentage of homeless people from the streets of Woodland.”
According to city staff, further phases are under consideration, including providing bus service to the site, or a “non-commercial” van operated by staff at Fourth & Hope, construction in January of pre-built micro-housing and the construction sometime in the next 18 months of a new Walter’s House that’s next door to Fourth & Hope and provides residential substance use disorder treatment for men and women.
The shelter is part of a trend across the state for providing a single source of services. In Woodland’s case, the centerpiece of the project, for now, is a single-story apartment-like building.
Although it will only be able to provide 70 beds for now due to the pandemic, that is still more than Fourth & Hope can now offer. That facility in downtown Woodland has 48 beds with 17 more in its family shelter.
Of the $2.3 million to build the present building, $1.25 million is coming from the Affordable Housing In-Lieu Fees Fund, $149,000 from the Spring Lake Off Site Affordable Housing Fund, $500,000 from Yolo County, and $400,000 from Friends of the Mission.
It was due to the growing number of homeless blamed on the poor economy, which has increased the cost of rents and other housing, forcing some people out on the streets. Others have become homeless due to mental health and drug abuse problems.
That resulted in many sleeping in city parks, on the streets, and in doorways and alleys of downtown businesses, leading merchants and residents to protest.
There are an estimated 400 people in Woodland who are homeless.
Completion of the site had been hoped for by Nov. 14, but the pandemic and the problems of getting power put everything back by several weeks.