Paul’s Place to accommodate displaced individuals in place of H Street transitional housing
A $5 million project was proposed at a forum addressing homelessness on Jan. 21. Held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, the forum was centered around providing affordable care and shelter to self-identifying homeless individuals across Yolo County.
The city of Davis has anywhere from 120 to over 150 homeless living in shelters and on streets each night. Organizations such as Davis Community Meals and Housing provide transitional residence up to a week for each individual, while the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter provides emergency housing seasonally. Though many programs address the need for shelter, around 39 percent of homeless individuals sleep outside.
Paul’s Place would be a three-story development on H Street, replacing the established 12-bed shelter. It would offer services such as showers, first aid, laundry, emergency and longer-term residence. Martha Teeter, a professor at the UC Davis Medical Center and the president of Davis Opportunity Village, emphasized that small details, such as an orange “H” archway that would symbolize home at the entrance to the proposed building, make all the difference.
“A sense of home gives a sense of safety and well-being,” Teeter said.
Construction has been set tentitavely for early 2019, but Maria Ogrydziak, the architect behind Paul’s Place, commented that this was an ambitious estimate. With construction costs at $4.5 to $5 million, DOV has enlisted several organizations around Davis to help fundraise.
“We need people with a heart and the resources,” Teeter said.
For Bill Pride, the executive director of Davis Community Meals and Housing, the struggle lies in getting everyone into safe beds at night.
“The lack of affordable housing is a huge impediment everywhere in this field,” Pride said. “Most people become homeless because of job loss or their rent went up, and those people utilize these programs and temporary housing.”
The city’s efforts to accommodate lower-income residents include maintaining 1,200 units of permanently affordable housing as well as recently approving Creekside Court, a 73-unit building with single-room apartments. Affordable housing is available to individuals who make 30 percent or less of the median income.
“We want to make sure we have the resources going forward,” said Lucas Frerichs, a Davis city councilmember.
In the meantime, social services have been boosted, according to Mayor Robb Davis, who recently endorsed Police Service Specialist Supervisor Ryan Collins. Police have been receiving training in conflict resolution and community outreach.
“It’s a long engagement process with these folks,” Pride said. “Get them to trust you, and maybe then you can get them some help.”
Written by: Genevieve Murphy-Skilling — firstname.lastname@example.org