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Bridge Shelter Opens for Families Who are Homeless

San Diego CA—Thursday morning, Father Joe’s Villages opened a City of San Diego Temporary Bridge Shelter for families and single women experiencing homelessness. Located at the intersection of 14th and Commercial Streets, this shelter accommodates up to 150 individuals, including men, women and children who are part of a family as well as single women. It will remain at Father Joe’s Villages’ campus until November 2018, through a contract with the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC), which administers the City of San Diego’s homeless shelters and services programs. In early 2019, Father Joe’s Villages expects to begin construction on a permanent supportive housing facility at the same site.

“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,” says Deacon Jim Vargas, President & CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. “Our community’s homelessness crisis demands both forward thinking and immediate action.”

The City of San Diego Bridge Shelter at Father Joe’s Villages’ 14th and Commercial site is one of three locations approved by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the San Diego City Council since September. Bridge shelters are an innovative approach to helping the most vulnerable members of the homeless population. They provide temporary relief from the streets with a stable environment and supportive services, with the goal of helping people find permanent housing. The individuals and families residing at Father Joe’s Villages’ site will gain access to the array of programs on the homeless services provider’s adjacent campus, including its medical clinic, employment center and therapeutic childcare program. At the shelter itself, children will enjoy a play area, and parents will meet with housing navigators who will work to connect them with permanent places to call home.

“I have been homeless for five years with my five kids,” said Ashley Baker, who is moving into the bridge shelter today. “It has been hard to keep my kids together and stay strong. This shelter is a new start for me. It has given me hope.”

As announced earlier this year, Father Joe’s Villages’ 14th and Commercial site will also serve as one location for Turning the Key, the organization’s initiative to bring 2,000 new units of much-needed affordable housing to San Diego by breathing new life into unused lots and overlooked buildings. To make way for construction on the permanent housing, the temporary shelter at 14th and Commercial will be removed no later than November 2018, under the terms of the shelter contract with SDHC.

Father Joe’s Villages anticipates that people will begin moving into its new affordable housing at this location as early as the first part of 2021. Out of more than 400 housing units at the site, 270 will be reserved for individuals who are chronically homeless, while the remaining units will go to formerly homeless veterans, individuals and families.

As a nonprofit organization, Father Joe’s Villages continues to rely on community support. To find ways to get involved and to donate to help end homelessness in San Diego, visit neighbor.org or call 1-800-HOMELESS to help ensure that all of San Diego shines.