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FILE PHOTO: DAILY PRESS
Victorville Residents looking for a warm place to stay sign in at the Warming Center the Victor Valley Rescue Mission and American Red Cross hosted at the High Desert Event Center recently. Martin Angeles is pictured settling into his chair at the Warming Center.

Partnerships formed to assist homeless

VICTORVILLE • Inspired by the opening of the Victor Valley Rescue Mission's new warming shelter in Victorville, Robert Larivee is planning for the summer heat.

“I will be drafting my letter to the City Council for an emergency plan to open not only emergency warming shelters, but emergency cooling shelters as well,” said Larivee, one of many local leaders making an effort to help the homeless.

Larivee plans to get the shelters established with Ron Wilson, director of the rescue mission.

“Our city council is very caring, and they really care about the homeless and those in need,” Larivee said.

Wilson’s group spearheaded the opening of the Victor Valley Emergency Shelter at the High Desert Event Center on Jan. 16, which continues to host people in need when temperatures drop below freezing.

“We have had the pleasure of working with (the High Desert Event Center),” Susan Conway, rescue mission coordinator said. “They have gone out of their way to make us and our guests feel welcome.”

Dispatcher Kathy Pace of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department made arrangements for deputies to check on the shelter and gave food coupons for shelter guests, Conway said.

“What a blessing to know we were being taken care of by our local law enforcement,” Conway said.

The rescue mission, the American Red Cross and a variety of organizations and volunteers worked together to open the shelter.

The mission’s next goal is to partner with others to open a larger shelter for men and another for families, which would both remain open all year, according to Wilson.

Since October, Larivee has held two home - less summits with pastors, non-profit leaders, citizens and government representatives in order to address a variety of issues that deal with homelessness.

“Direction from previous city councils has been to provide funding via CDBG (Community Block Development Grants) for a variety of social services, including the homeless,” Victorville City Manager Doug Robertson said.

Larivee is also in the process of establishing a committee to oversee activities and programs that birth from the summit meetings.

“It is heartening to see our non-profits and the faith-based community work together on a successful program,” Robertson said. For more information, call the Victor Valley Rescue Mission at (760) 955-5958.

Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.

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