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Third Bridge Shelter Opens to Help Homeless Families

Mayor Faulconer and Father Joe’s Villages Open Bridge Shelter Focused on Getting Families into Permanent Homes

Father Joe's Bridge Shelter Opening

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – With two shelters already helping hundreds of people get off of the streets, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer on Thursday opened a third Bridge Shelter – focused on homeless families and women – as the City’s latest step to help people transition into permanent housing.

Mayor Faulconer was joined by City Councilmember Chris Ward, San Diego Housing Commission President Rick Gentry, and Deacon Jim Vargas, President and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages – the service provider that will be operating the shelter for up to 150 individuals.

“These bridge shelters are giving hundreds of homeless folks who want to turn their lives around the opportunity to do so,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This new shelter is a safe place for families and women who had nowhere else to go. It will provide the stability they need as they work toward finding a home to call their own.”

These shelters are an innovative approach to helping the most vulnerable members of the homeless population by providing a “bridge” from the streets to permanent housing. They provide temporary relief from the streets with a stable environment and supportive services, with the goal of helping people find permanent housing.

Located in the East Village at 14th and Commercial streets, the Bridge Shelter will provide a variety of supportive services that are found in the other two shelters, with some services specific to families, such as child care and a play area. Family specific services in this Bridge Shelter include:

  • Specialized infant, toddler and preschool child care
  • Assessments and targeted behavioral interventions
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Parent education groups
  • After-school programs
  • Teen Club
  • Tutoring and mentoring
  • Family literacy service

Clients will also have access to the array of programs on the Father Joe’s Villages adjacent campus, including its medical clinic.

In early 2019, Father Joe’s Villages expects to begin construction on a permanent supportive housing facility at the same site.

With the opening of each Bridge Shelter, the operators have also hired additional homeless outreach ambassadors. These teams will work throughout the City to identify homeless individuals, develop trusting relationships and direct people to the resources they need, including the Bridge Shelters.

“Today is the culmination of months of hard work to move 700 homeless San Diegans into safe shelter and get them in the pipeline to permanent housing,” Councilmember Ward said. “I look forward to working with my fellow Councilmembers and our providers to achieve our performance targets and deliver on the Housing First goals we set to provide a lasting solution to homelessness.”

Supportive services offered at each Bridge Shelter include:

  • 24-hour security
  • Storage
  • Meals
  • Showers
  • Bathrooms
  • Laundry services
  • Alcohol and substance abuse counseling
  • Mental health services
  • Job training
  • Health care
  • Case managers/housing navigators to help people transition into permanent housing

“As we prepare to build permanent homes to address the shortage of affordable housing for those who are homeless, setting up this temporary shelter on our available lot is simply the right thing to do,” Deacon Vargas said. “Our community’s homelessness crisis demands both forward thinking and immediate action.”

Last month the City opened two other Bridge Shelters. One operated by Alpha Project is located downtown and serves more than 300 single adults daily. The other, operated by Veterans Village of San Diego, is located in the Midway District and serves up to 250 homeless veterans.

“With operations funded by the San Diego Housing Commission, these shelters will assist the most vulnerable homeless individuals and families in the City of San Diego,” Gentry said. “As these homeless San Diegans exit to permanent housing with the ‘Housing First’ model – including housing opportunities created through the Housing Commission’s HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO homelessness action plan – the shelters will be able to help additional homeless families and individuals.”

The addition of the three Bridge Shelters brings the City’s total number of shelter beds to 2,040.

CONTACT: Greg Block at (619) 227-3752 or [email protected]

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