By Gina Yarbrough
Oceanside, CA–The City of Oceanside held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning for its new year-round homeless shelter for those experiencing homelessness in the city.
Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez, City Manager Jonathan Borrego, County Supervisor Jim Desmond, State Assembly Member Laurie Davies, Congressman Mike Levin, and San Diego Rescue Mission president and CEO Donnie Dee were among the dignitaries attending the ceremony.
“Our goal is not just to provide a bed for the night, but to provide our residents with the tools and resources they need to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez. “By providing a range of services under one roof, we can make a real difference in the lives of Oceansiders who are struggling.”
The Oceanside Navigation Center will open its doors in the next couple of weeks after completing major renovations and upgrades, including new windows, new heating and air conditioning system, new roof, fire sprinkler system, sewer lines, showers, kitchen, furniture, computers, landscaping, and ADA improvements before move-in takes place.
The shelter will provide an immediate, safe pathway off the streets, and will offer a comprehensive range of services to support stabilization, such as case management working towards permanent housing, medical and mental health services, rehabilitation programs, and other appropriate solutions. Staff at the center will use a person-centered, trauma-informed care model for its clients.
Clients in the program will have access to 24-hour staffing, security, daytime activities, meals, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and safe storage for belongings. It will include basic hygiene and medical products, telephone access, and message services. It will also provide access and transportation to medical and mental healthcare, and substance abuse treatment.
The City of Oceanside purchased the property, which was the former site of the now-closed Ocean Shores High School. They entered into a three-year contract with the San Diego Rescue Mission to operate the center, located at 3131 Oceanside Boulevard.
In 2020, the Rescue Mission partnered with Oceanside’s Bread of Life Rescue Mission with a vision to expand its efforts in North County.
The project also received a grant award of $3.3 million from the County of San Diego and $2.25 million in federal funding secured by Congressman Mike Levin.
“Fighting homelessness requires a holistic approach, and we’re grateful that the City of Oceanside selected us to operate this facility. Our goal is to get people in this community off the streets immediately and help them determine their next step forward to staying off the streets permanently,” said Donnie Dee, president and CEO of the San Diego Rescue Mission.
In addition to the shelter, the Oceanside City Council committed $3.5 million and 59 Section 8 vouchers towards a 60-unit permanent supportive housing complex for homeless residents, which will be constructed on Greenbrier Drive. The project includes $6 million in state funds, along with private-sector funding. The project broke ground in January 2023.