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Homeless shelter coming to Hesperia
HESPERIA • After Higher Praise Tabernacle started its youth tutoring program, church leaders quickly discovered that there were greater needs to be addressed in Hesperia.
“Our youth would bring their friends and we soon recognized that there was a lot of people dealing with homelessness and emotional issues,” said Sharon Green, CEO of the Victor Valley Family Resource Center, which was formed by the High Praise in 2009.
To meet the homeless issue, the family resource center plans on transforming the former Hesperia Truss building, which is on 2.5 acres on “E” Avenue near Live Oak Street, into a homeless shelter and vocational training center.
Once the leased facility is remodeled, the 6,300 square foot building will house up to 48 clients and will include classrooms, a kitchen and multiple bedrooms.
“We have to rewire the building because vandals did quite a bit of damage,” Green said. “We’ll have to replace the kitchen equipment and air conditioning units as well.”
The city council unanimously denied the VVFRC’s request to waive $11,770 in estimated fees associated with establishing the facility during its Oct. 2 meeting.
The council agreed that the city needs a shelter, but voted against the request on grounds that its approval may set precedence with other nonprofit organizations, especially those who have applied for a Community Development Block Grant.
The non-faith-based ministry is funded through the San Bernardino County’s Department of Behavioral Health, and clients come through the county or other agencies.
From individuals dealing with mental issues to seniors who have hit a bump in the road, Green said the face of homelessness comes in many forms.
“We had one young man that had a doctorate,” Green said. “He ended up being homeless after a struggle with divorce, depression, booze and surgery.
Green, who is also the chair for the county’s homeless provider network, said the family resource center currently works with 198 clients at the center’s Walnut Street office, providing services such as mental health counseling, life skill and parenting classes, and educational assistance.
David Thompson, a veteran who lives in an open field less than a mile from family resource center’s facility, said the new shelter is a step in the right direction.
“It’s a good thing for the city, and for the people who need it,” Thompson, 59, said. “There are lots of families, kids and older people who need help.”
Information on the VVFRC can be found online at www.vvfrc.com.
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.