GROUNDBREAKING HELD FOR SUBSTANCE USE TREATMENT CENTER IN WOODLAND
Yolo County Board of Supervisors and Woodland City Council members Friday at the East Beamer Way Neighborhood Campus located at 1901 E. Beamer St. (Gerardo Zavala/Daily Democrat)
After several years of project planning starting in 2017, Woodland’s multi-million dollar housing project aimed at helping Woodland’s homeless population is moving on to its final phase of construction.
City officials and local stakeholders attended a groundbreaking Friday for Walter’s House, a treatment center that will be added to the East Beamer Neighborhood Campus. The campus is currently composed of a 100-bed homeless shelter and 60 permanent supportive housing units.
Scott Thurmond, a member of Friends of the Mission, explained that the campus is approximately 7 acres and has received roughly $35 million in funding that his organization and several others involved in the project have been able to raise together as a team.
“What you see here overall is about 50% of what we’re going to do,” he said regarding the project.
Thurmond listed several other plans the organizations are working on or conceptualizing including community gardens, a community center for residents, beautification projects such as trees and landscaping and more.
“We’re talking about a medical clinic and a mental health drop-in center on-site, we’re going to add a kennel, storage and, what I’m excited about as well is we’re going to try to conceptualize some type of community store where folks can drop by and get basic supplies, and have a little coffee shop,” he highlighted.
However, Thurmond noted these are all still in the “concept stage” and will likely not happen for another three or four years.
After thanking numerous organizations and individuals whose work was vital to the project, a resident of one of the campus’ permanent supportive housing units named Scott was welcomed to the stage to tell his story.
“I came here and they kept me so that I can work night, have a place where I wouldn’t have to worry about showering, food and sleep so that I can go to work every day,” he emphasized.
He explained that while walking to work one day he was hit by a car that drove off instead of helping him.
“They were still here for me,” he said regarding the campus staff. “I had a heart attack, and they were there for me.”
“I just wanted to have a place to go where I could have my grandkids come visit me,” he said. “Now I see my grandkids every day. I am very grateful to these people and what you’ve done for me.”
Scott is a resident of one of the campus’ “tiny homes” – fabricated locally by Woodland’s Cutting Edge Modular – that opened for use at the end of 2022. They provide “dignified shelter” while those in need work to improve their circumstances, according to a February city press release.
As of February, all units are fully occupied and play a critical role in the city’s – and county’s – efforts to address homelessness.
Yolo County’s 2022 point-in-time count identified 746 people experiencing homelessness. The study showed that 22% of individuals surveyed said they’ve lived in the county their entire lives and nearly 50% said they came to the county because they grew up here or have friends and family here.
Woodland had 267 homeless people in last year’s count, which amounts to 44.4 individuals experiencing homelessness per 10,000 residents. This is up from the previous count that showed 39.4 homeless residents for every 10,000 in Woodland and is the second-highest rate of homelessness in the county behind West Sacramento, which had 53.8 homeless residents per 10,000.
Last year’s count found that at least 13% of homeless people surveyed said they suffered from a substance use disorder.
Walter’s House will be the last building phase in a project that Doug Zeck, executive director of Fourth & Hope, once called a “hub of hope.”
“This hub of hope is built by the collaboration and support of this community and agency partners,” he highlighted. “It has changed the trajectory of our neighbors experiencing homelessness while providing a model for a homeless service campus.”
To learn more about the project and the organizations who have contributed to it, visit cityofwoodland.org/1248/East-Beamer-Campus.