NEW WOODLAND HOMELESS SHELTER UP AND RUNNING
After a long wait that began construction nearly six months ago and a list of delays dealing with property transfers, the brand new 6,500-square-foot, single-story homeless shelter located at 1901 E. Beamer St. is finally up and running.
According to Fourth & Hope Executive Director Doug Zeck, the first set of clients spent the night on Monday, Jan. 4, and while the shelter is filling up, Zeck expects a few more weeks until they are full.
“This morning (Wednesday), I noticed that we are having a regular pace of work,” Zeck, who is working on location at the new shelter, said. “It seems to be going relatively smooth. I give it another 30 days and it will be full out here.”
Under normal circumstances, the $2.3 million shelter would house 100 people — 60 men, and 40 women — but due to COVID-19 regulations, the shelter will max out at 70 people, with a 40/30 split of men and women. It is still an improvement over Fourth & Hope’s downtown location, which could only house around 38 people.
Depending on vacancies, people in need will be able to stay at the shelter indefinitely, as long as they are working on their case plans. Within the first week after their first overnight check-in, clients will work with staff to develop their individual case plans.
“It will be a different plan for each person,” Zeck said. “It’s individualized. As long as they are making progress, they will be able to stay until they can get into a permanent housing situation. That’s our goal.”
Case plans can include correcting resumes, getting proper identification, addressing their social security in place if they are on disability, and identifying places they need to work on for job searches.
“We will triage initially to see what people’s immediate needs are,” Zeck explained. “Some people need to get IDs so they can start applying for jobs, so it’s a little bit of a process to get them down that path.”
Zeck mentioned some will come into the shelter with jobs already and will transition out quickly, but it’s the ones who have been on the street for long periods of time that have to start at “ground zero.”
The facility is split into separate sections for men and women. In the sleeping areas, the bunks have been spread out to allow for social distancing. Everyone that enters the shelter goes through a single entrance point. After a screening process, including a temperature check and questions, they can enter.
Masks are available and distributed, while the facility has hourly cleaning and sanitizing. Staff also makes sure everyone has the necessary personal protection equipment. If someone is showing symptoms, they will be referred to health services.
There will be no less than two or three staff members at the shelter at any time. During the day, as many as six or eight will be on site.
The old location on Court Street will no longer offer homeless services and will be an administrative office space. The location will, however, continue to provide their outpatient drug treatment program that has been at the facility for several years.
The commercial kitchen will still be used to prepare meals and be a place for volunteers to go cook and not have to be on-site at the new location.
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.
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.
There are an estimated 400 people in Woodland who are homeless.