Compassion Center nets $21,000 city grant

Star Wright and Xavier Garett receive clothes, a box lunch and

The Gilroy Compassion Center – a grassroots outreach organization offering food, clothes, shelter and support services – is ringing in the new year with $21,000 worth of good news.

Slowly but surely on its way to becoming a year-round homeless shelter, the Center received a grant last night from the Housing Trust Fund during a City Council meeting at 7351 Rosanna St.

“It’s really encouraging to know that the city is behind what we’re doing, and that people recognize the need – the very great need – in our community and how far these dollars can go,” said Center Board Director Jan Bernstein-Chargin.

After applying for the grant about a month ago, the sum of $21,000 was awarded to the Compassion Center, which is working to offset the hours of the Gilroy Armory.

While the National Guard’s homeless program offered locally at 8490 Wren Ave. provides a hot meal, shower facilities and sleeping quarters, it is only open from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Nov. 28 through March 31. Supporters of the Gilroy Compassion Center hope to mitigate the displaced downtime by eventually staying open day and night.

Located at 8425 Monterey Road on the northwest corner of Monterey and Leavesley Roads, the Compassion Center recently established hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bernstein-Chargin said the new funding will go toward general operating expenses such as keeping the utilities paid, stocking supplies and hopefully extending the Center’s hours of operation.

“The hours are still 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., but we will have an operations committee meeting this Thursday and see where we are in our benchmarks, and if we’re ready to look at how to expand those into earlier morning hours,” she said.

Bernstein-Chargin added the Center has seen a gradual increase since it opened a couple months ago, “and we know that as we gradually add services, that will continue.”

The funding comes from the city’s Housing Trust Fund, which supports the efforts of the South County Homeless Outreach Group. This is a task force that meets monthly to discuss shared casework on chronically homeless individuals, and/or recently homeless persons and families.

As described in its application for funding, the Gilroy Compassion Center provides drop-in access to basic needs, including bathrooms, personal care items, laundry, clean clothes, supplies for daily living and respite from the streets. The Center also provides one-stop access to resource information, referrals, workshops and clinics offered by social service agencies and service professionals such as substance abuse counseling, legal clinic and personal counseling. A connection to other services through telephone, the Internet and quarterly Project Homeless Connect events is also provided.

Click here to read more about the Gilroy Compassion Center. 

– The Compassion Center is located at 8425 Monterey Road on thenorthwest corner of Monterey and Leavesley roads
– In-demand supplies include donations of women’s jackets andjob interview appropriate clothing, plus new or gently used men’sworkshirts and jackets, especially in L, XL, and XXL sizes.
– Donations can be made out to the Gilroy Compassion Center,P.O. Box 233, Gilroy, CA 95021.
– Visit:

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