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Martha’s Village and Kitchen opens overnight cooling shelter for Palm Springs homeless community

As the warmer months arrive in the valley, Martha's Village and Kitchen is opening its overnight shelter to provide much-needed resources for individuals without homes in Palm Springs.

For those facing homelessness in the valley, it's often the little things that can make a world of difference. A simple shower, some snacks, and a cool place to sleep can provide much-needed comfort and relief.

"Sometimes it's hard to reach this population, and just opening up to them and providing them with some basic necessities, I feel that's when they become very trustworthy, and they feel that they can come to us," said Espy Ortiz, director of programs at Martha's Village and Kitchen.

Ortiz is spearheading the efforts to open the only overnight shelter in the west valley for the first time of the season. The former boxing club building on El Cielo Road near the airport has been transformed into a safe haven for those in need.

In addition to the daily access center there, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the overnight shelter will now be operational starting at 4:30 p.m. Homeless individuals can check in for the night, receiving dinner and a cot to sleep in. In the morning, they are provided with a continental breakfast before checking out at 6:30 a.m.

While the overnight shelter currently accommodates 20 individuals, the demand continues to rise. A January point-in-time count revealed a 3 percent increase in homelessness countywide.

People at the shelter are offered lockers to store personal items and provided wraparound services such as transportation, addiction support, free clothes, and assistance in finding permanent housing.

The organization's goal is to meet people exactly where they are.

"Even though they may be high, they may have mental illness," Ortiz explains, "they're usually very relaxed, and they're just appreciative of the fact that we're offering the services."

Thanks to funding from Riverside County, Martha's Village and Kitchen received $250,000 to operate the shelter, which will remain open through September 30th.

Interactive Map of Cooling Center in Riverside County - Center Locations Still Pending Confirmation

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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