City hopes to eventually offer nighttime services for people experiencing homelessness
By RACHEL SHEY — email@example.com
On Feb. 28, the Davis social services commission approved an extension recommendation which would extend the Daytime Respite Center through June 2023; the extension was approved on March 1 by City Council.
The Daytime Respite Center was started with the purpose of providing a daytime shelter for people experiencing homelessness and providing a panoply of services, according to City Council member Dan Carson.
“Some of it is just a daytime shelter component, some of this is about people having a place to do their laundry and get some food during the day and part of it is about being able to connect up with services,” Carson said. “There are counselors who will help folks try to get linked up with permanent housing. Some folks can get signed up for regular medical coverage like mental health care and substance use services.”
The center has provided numerous tangible services for individuals experiencing homelessness in Davis. Associate Clinical Director of Behavioral Health Tegwin Millard told the Davis Vanguard that the respite center has done 951 loads of laundry and that 1,174 showers were taken at the center.
The respite center also allows dogs. It has provided services to a few hundred people experiencing homelessness since its inception despite volunteering challenges, Carson said.
“Since the place opened, there’s been 10,000 visits; there’s 524 individual people who use it; on a quarterly basis, it’s about 1265 guest visits and every month they have about 50 new intakes,” Carson said.
Communicare Health Centers’ Chief Behavioral Officer Sara Gavin told the Davis Vanguard that the center had hoped “to be reliant on some more volunteers.” This challenge was coupled with criticisms from neighbors of the project. The city has attempted to address these criticisms by sending out quarterly updates regarding the project’s progress.
“[…] Staff began to generate quarterly program updates to send via email to neighbors and other interested parties,” the staff report reads. “Davis Manor Neighborhood Association representatives also shared the updates with their respective contact lists. The quarterly program updates include client intake data, services provided, resource linkage information, police calls-for-service reports, and other highlights of the program.”
The biennial Point In Time (PIT) count in Davis in 2019 found that there were 190 people experiencing homelessness on any given night, according to the staff report. The next PIT count will take place soon and will provide more information about people experiencing homelessness in Davis.
The initial fund that started the Respite Center has run out. The current funding will likely come from the City of Davis General Fund, according to Carson.
“Initially, when we got this thing going in February of 2020, there was funding from the CARES Act, which was a different COVID-19 assistance program, and then we got some money from the federal government,” Carson said. “Those were one-time dollars that have been spent, so we’re now extending the contract, and the general fund is the revenue source for now, although we’ll see if we find other revenue sources.”
There are currently no nighttime shelters for people experiencing homelessness in Davis. After Project Roomkey was announced to end this year due to declines in COVID-19 cases, the city of Davis attempted to start a new nighttime shelter to aid those who had been using Project Roomkey. However, the project ran into issues, according to Carson.
“Over the winter, we worked with Heart of Davis, a nonprofit group, to create an overnight shelter, which was going to be at the Migrant Center at the outskirts of town,” Carson said. “It did provide some services for a few weeks, but Heart had a very difficult time finding people who had the skills to manage a facility like that. We’re retooling it, working with a different nonprofit organization, to try to bring back a shelter to the Migrant Center.”
The city isn’t out of ideas yet; Carson said that they are currently thinking about a sanctioned campground and are preparing for the debut of Paul’s Place, a new transitional housing shelter, which will be located on H Street.
Written by: Rachel Shey — firstname.lastname@example.org