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Hesperia homeless shelter hits snag
Vandals damage building, city refuses to waive $11,770 in fees
HESPERIA • Sharon Green's vision of bringing a homeless shelter to Hesperia may not come to fruition, after the CEO of the Victor Valley Family Resource Center ran into a major obstacle.
“Vandals have done major damage to the building, and have ripped out all the copper and other wiring that has no value,” Green said. “The big problem is that the owner’s insurance has denied the claim and will not cover the damage, which is leaving us in waiting mode.”
Another setback was the City Council’s unanimous denial of the center’s request to waive $11,770 in estimated fees associated with establishing the facility during an Oct. 2 meeting.
Green’s ministry is applying for a Community Development Block Grant, after the council voted against the fee waiver request on grounds that its approval may set precedence with other nonprofit organizations — especially those who have applied for the grant.
The 6,300-square-foot building was home to Hesperia Truss and sits on 2.5 acres on E Avenue near Live Oak Street. It would need approximately $20,000 in renovations to house 48 clients and to ready the facility for vocational training.
“We’re getting up to 15 calls a week for people needing housing. Many of them are living out of their cars,” Green said. “The owner of the building is working with us to find a solution so we can get in there.”
Meanwhile, Green said the center has been paying $1,850 a month on its lease-to-buy property since November.
While Green waits for word on the Hesperia building, her team is working on a project some 40 miles to the north.
“We’ve met with the city of Barstow and school officials regarding a permanent housing project to deal with the at-risk community,” Green said. “If there is a need in the High Desert, we’re trying to help.”
The non-faith-based ministry, which was birthed by the High Praise Tabernacle in 2009, is privately funded, and clients come through San Bernardino County’s Department of Behavioral Health and other agencies.
The family resource center currently works with 198 clients at the center’s Yucca Street office, which provides services such as mental health counseling, life skill and parenting classes along with educational assistance, said Green, who is also the chair for the county’s homeless provider network.
Information on the center can be found at www.vvfrc.com or by calling (760) 669-0300
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.