VICTORVILLE - Lives are changing at the Victor Valley Community Warming Shelter thanks to those working and/or residing in the Victor Valley community. So many individuals, organizations, leaders, and businesses who have came together for the cause are making the warming shelter run better and better each and every days.
The warming shelter originally opened in 2013, also run as a community warming shelter. Eventually, the Victor Valley Rescue Mission took on the responsibility on and for years, along with the help of the community kept the homeless who would regularly sleep out in the cold, safe and warm. This year is the first year that High Desert Homeless Services has become fully involved, working alongside Victor Valley Rescue Mission, the community, and other organizations who have stepped in with many forms of help.
Due to a fire at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville the building once used for the warming shelter is no longer available to use for the warming shelter. This posed a problem, but fairground officials came through offering other options at a very fair price. The option was a piece of land where a temporary shelter, office, and restrooms could be placed. Next, the Victor Valley Rescue Mission sought out options for a structure for the clients to be kept warm in. The first option was two mobile units, which came at a very high cost, several thousand to be more specific. Still seeking other options, Victor Valley Rescue Mission Executive Director Bill Edwards reached out to San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Lovingood.
With Supervisor Lovingood’s commitment to the community, of course, including the homeless in our community he worked hard on another option. With the leadership of Supervisor Lovingood the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the agreement with the Marine base to borrow the insulated military tents. This will be valid through March 21, 2017.
Now, with a beautiful lighted Christmas tree placed outside of one of the tents, the warming shelter has provided not only overnight warmth, but food, drink, resources, and a safe place to stay for homeless men, women, and sometimes even juveniles. Fortunately, most who have went to the warming shelter with children have successfully been qualified and placed with High Desert Homeless Services (HDHS). HDHS is a 55-bed shelter with additional supportive services to help ensure, with the hard work of the client, every opportunity for a successful transition into permanent housing. In addition to the clients with children, one family with five children, several others including those elderly have been placed into HDHS where they can be provided with longer term solutions.
Since HDHS can serve many groups, but not all, the warming shelter volunteers are equipped with the knowledge needed to refer clients to the organization that can best fit their personal needs. One woman was connected with a domestic violence shelter, a disabled elderly man has been set up with a mens home, and another was reunited with her family, thanks to them coming to the warming shelter.
Compassion and resource connection are two of the goals of the warming shelter aside from the obvious safety, warmth, and nourishment. The Victor Valley Community Warming Shelter Facebook page is the main source of communication with the public with an almost daily update and list of updated needs being shared with the public daily. Several of these needs have been met with the support of businesses including, but not limited to, High Desert Church-Victorville, San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, Johnson’s Construction and Development Inc., St. Mary’s Medical Center, Best Deal Tobacco, Simple Auto Sales, J&D Foundation, and Capstone Realty-Mary Jo Kirsch. When these needs were shared, the community including individuals have generously came through supplying just about all of the expressed needs.
Costs to keep the shelter going, along with other needs that often arise requires financial contributions, which have been trickling in through checks, cash, and PayPal donations. These donations help the warming shelter to have the funds available when each need arises. Currently, we are using propane for the outdoor heater and diesel fuel for the generators, which produce the shelter’s power at this time.
Anyone wishing to donate funds and/or a gas card can donate to:
High Desert Homeless Services
℅ Warming Shelter
14049 Amargosa Road
Victorville, CA. 92392
(please make sure to note that the donation is for the warming shelter)
PayPal donations can also be made on the menu of the Facebook page to HighDesertHomeless@yahoo.com, please add a note that the donation is for the warming shelter.