PALM SPRINGS – “Dire is a good word to describe it.”
Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley described the already worsening homeless situation going on throughout the state’s second largest county.
“On a scale of 0 to 10, it’s probably a 12 and getting worse,” Supervisor Ashley rated.
With homeless numbers on the rise, county and local officials are working together to tackle the problem with a new shelter in North Palm Springs.
Work has started on the Western Coachella Valley Safe Haven Project, a 47,000 square foot facility that will serve as a multi-service resource center.
It will provide not only food and beds for nearly 150 people but also job and health services.
The first phase will open in April.
“You’re going to see a lot more people who want to get back on their feet and need some help,” Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet said Thursday also calling it “the place to come to” for the Valley’s homeless population.
The county-owned building that houses the “Safe Haven” is in an industrial area off the Interstate 10 near Indian Avenue.
Some argue it’s a tough location for some of the homeless to get to.
“It’s a good spot, and for people thinking we’re not going to be able to get here from downtown Palm Springs, I don’t buy that,” said Mayor Pougnet. “There is going to be a van service. There may even be a bus route. In the next nine months, the transportation matrix is coming together.”
Lupe Ramos Watson, who chairs the Coachella Valley Association of Government’s homelessness committee, said the resource center will ease the burden of other shelters such as Martha’s Village and Kitchen in Indio.
“We would hope this is just the beginning,” Watson said hopefully. “Eventually, we will end homelessness here in the Valley.”
The center is expected to be completed by December 1st.