ESCONDIDO — Interfaith Community Services recently announced plans to open a 10-room shelter in Escondido for homeless families, a need that the organization says has continued to increase amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The shelter is expected to open next year at the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center on North Ash Street and will serve 10 to 14 families at a time, according to Interfaith CEO Greg Anglea.
“We, unfortunately, have a lot of families already that are experiencing homelessness, a lot of it COVID related, but a lot of it is multifaceted, and we expect that, unfortunately, the need is only going to increase,” Anglea said.
The Hawthorne Center is currently being used as a recuperative care center for homeless people who are recovering after being discharged from a hospital and have no place to go. Those individuals will be moved to the Abraham and Lillian Turk Recuperative Care Center at 555 N. Centre City Parkway, formerly an America’s Best Value Inn & Suites, once work is completed on the building.
After minor renovations on the Hawthorne Center, it will be used as Interfaith’s new family shelter. In the meantime, Interfaith has been operating a family shelter program since August, using area hotel rooms to serve 10 families.
“There are no available family shelter beds tonight. Until this shelter was created, there was hardly anywhere else for them to go,” Anglea said. “There’s one other family shelter in North County, it’s run by a group called Operation Hope North County. They do great work, but they have a very long waiting list for entry into their shelter. So it’s a matter of, there are families with children who don’t have a place to sleep, and we have a building that we think is going to be a good place for it.”
Anglea added that they also have more than 75 different programs and services that can help families with employment, counseling, tutoring, education and finding permanent housing.
“Our goal is to get families out of our shelter and into housing of their own within 30 to 90 days, so it’s a very short-term system to stabilize them and get them access to resources,” Anglea said. “Now it can take longer, but our goal is for it to be a short-term resource.”
The new shelter will be funded partly by a $1.8 million operational and capital grant from the County of San Diego but will rely primarily on donors and community partners to help fund the shelter long-term.