VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Clients of the City of Victorville’s Interim Homeless Shelter will have a new, innovative facility to move into just in time for the holidays.
On Friday, December 8, 2023, the City of Victorville celebrated the grand opening of its Wellness Center, the first low-barrier, non-congregate emergency shelter to offer interim housing and wraparound support services with a medical and recuperative care clinic on-site.
One of the center’s most unique features will be the inclusion of medical services and recuperative care, an extremely challenging component of wellness for individuals who lack proper shelter and access to ongoing medical care.
Local hospitals will be able to discharge Victorville’s unhoused directly to the Wellness Center medical clinic to receive the recuperative care they need to recover while freeing much-needed hospital beds.
With expenses reimbursed through Medi-Cal, the medical clinic and recuperative care will be self-sustaining services.
The non-congregate design of the modular housing units will offer 110 separate units with a minimum capacity of 170 beds increasing the number of shelter beds in Victorville by 56 percent. Units vary in size including single, double, and family.
The center includes community spaces, a dog kennel, community garden, industrial kitchen, and recreational sports courts. Altogether, the housing units and support service buildings comprise 25,920-square-feet of new construction on 4.5 acres of City-owned land located at 16902 First St.
“We are proud to be among the cities taking action to address the issue of homelessness head on,” said Victorville Mayor Debra Jones. “Our Victorville Wellness Center is the result of tremendous collaboration from our community including task force members and service organizations who helped us envision a center of hope and healing to break the cycle of homelessness.”
Victorville’s Wellness Center was constructed primarily through a $28 million Homekey Grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
The City of Victorville envisioned its Wellness Center four years ago with the help of its Homelessness Solutions Task Force. While the center was under construction, the City used revenue from Measure P, the one-cent sales tax approved by Victorville voters in 2022, to fund the operation of its Interim Wellness Center located in the Westwinds Sports Center.
The Interim Shelter had been operated by High Desert Homeless Services, and it served as a working model for the new services framework now used at Victorville’s Wellness Center.
The City’s Homeless Engagement Team, also funded through Measure P, canvases the Victorville community, engages with the City’s unhoused, and connects them to helpful resources like the new Wellness Center. Admission to the center will be primarily through referrals from the City’s Homeless Engagement Team.
The City retained the services of two nonprofits to operate the Wellness Center: Hope the Mission and Symba Center. Hope the Mission, run by founder, CEO, and president, Ken Craft, will serve as the shelter operator of the Wellness Center. Their services will include client intake coordination, hygiene services, laundry, meals, security, janitorial services, transportation, and peer engagement.
Symba Center, a local non-profit under the direction of Dr. Shawn Smith, will provide wraparound services including recuperative care, medical and behavioral health services, job readiness and placement, financial literacy, case management, housing navigation, and substance-use-disorder counseling.
Victorville’s Wellness Center is constructed with a low-barrier to entry, housing-first approach. For example, clients will be able to bring their pets with them to the center, which encourages them to take advantage of the helpful resources offered. With a $50,000 grant from San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the City constructed a pet kennel where clients can leave their pets when they work or have other business.
IKEA donated furnishings such as bedding, desks, and chairs valued at $10,000 for the seven family-units at the Wellness Center
The contractors on this project are Angeles Contractor Inc., Pacifica Services, MB Pro, Urban Bloc, Connect Homes, CMC Architects and Engineers, Graphics MFG, and Apple Valley Communications.
The City of Victorville has the second-highest concentration of homeless persons in San Bernardino County. Video of the City of Victorville’s Wellness Center Campus is available for download.
Additional information about the center and the City of Victorville’s strategy to reduce homelessness is available online at VictorvilleCA.gov/HomelessnessSolutions.
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