Cold weather shelters offer outreach

Volunteer foreman Johnny Bolin works to sand the wall to prepare

As winter approaches and the temperatures drop, those in need can head to shelters located in Gilroy and San Jose, where they’ll find a safe place to rest, shower and enjoy a hot meal.

California National Guard Army

Location: 8490 Wren Ave., Gilroy

Hours: 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly through April 2

Contact: (408) 712-0453

Armory staff expects to see up to 100 men, women and children per night during the cold winter months.

“As anticipated, about half of the usual (amount) showed up on the first night,” said Army Sgt. Jorje Monroy, who works at the Armory.

Monroy said 49 people turned up Monday evening, but at least twice as many folks were expected to arrive Tuesday night..

The Armory will continue to stay open every day – including holidays – throughout the winter until April 2. Space is limited to 100 people and meals are served daily. Clients must be onsite by 6 p.m. for intake.

Donations are also greatly appreciated – including sugar, coffee, shoes, pants and blankets, according to Armory staffer Mary Zavala. Donations can be dropped off between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.  

“Also volunteers are always welcome,” Zavala reminds.

Gilroy Compassion Center

Location: 8425 Monterey St. Gilroy

Hours: 8 a.m. to noon

Contact: (408) 763-7120

The Gilroy Compassion Center – a grassroots outreach organization offering snacks, clothes, shelter and support services – is open for several hours during the day. Clients have access to mail, email and a telephone, as well as employment resources and job listings, a calendar that shows when and where free meals will be served in Gilroy, and how to get personal food assistance through Second Harvest Food Bank.

“We have been very, very busy,” said Board Member Jan Bernstein Chargin with the Center. “There are a lot of people who are homeless.”

The organization is working on building up its volunteer base in order to expand its hours of operation.

“That’s really the challenge now; making sure we have enough staffing trained, because we are running primarily with volunteers,” said Chargin.

In order to stay open overnight and offer people a place to sleep, the Compassion Center building is still in need of structural upgrades that are estimated to cost $750,000 to $1.1 million.

Donations of socks, sleeping bags, personal care items, razors, jackets and rain gear are needed.

For those who are interested in learning more and getting involved with the Center, an open house and tours will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 8 at the building on 8425 Monterey St.

Boccardo Reception Center

Location: 2011 Little Orchard St., San Jose

Hours: 4 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Contact: (408) 510-7502

The Boccardo Reception Center has changed the ratio of beds this year with the goal of eliminating homelessness permanently, according to a press release.

Clients must be onsite by 3:30 p.m. to join the lottery for bed assignments. Space is limited to 50 people. Meals are served daily.

“I am pleased by the change in the ratio of beds at the BRC this year because it allows our clients to more successfully gain self sufficiency and permanent housing,” states CEO Jenny Niklaus with EHC LifeBuilders. “By focusing our resources on those that are most effective, we are providing a pathway for our clients to end their homelessness permanently. Many of those enrolled in BRC programs are the same clients who have sought nightly emergency shelters in the past.”

Clients that are enrolled in the BRC programs have access to job training, case management and benefits assistance.

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