California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

City breaks ground on new homeless shelter

She+said+the+goal+of+this+center+is+to+provide+help+to+Thousand+Oaks+residents+who+are+experiencing+homelessness.+With+this+goal+at+the+forefront%2C+residents+will+have+to+prove+a+direct+or+long-term+connection+to+the+city.
Photo Contributed by Alexandra South
She said the goal of this center is to provide help to Thousand Oaks residents who are experiencing homelessness. With this goal at the forefront, residents will have to prove a direct or long-term connection to the city.

The city of Thousand Oaks has broken ground on the new Thrive Grove Navigation Center. The space aims to provide permanent supportive housing for unhoused members of the Thousand Oaks community.

According to the City of Thousand Oaks website, the center will contain 77 units of permanent housing, in addition to 30 units of temporary interim housing. The center will differ from a drop-in shelter, as community members looking to utilize its services will need to go through an official process in order to gain access to housing.

Alexandra South, director of strategic communication and public affairs for the city of Thousand Oaks, said the majority of the areaโ€™s unhoused population is made up of local residents. She said there is a higher rate of success for unhoused populations finding permanent housing when they are able to stay close to home.

โ€œThey donโ€™t want to move. They donโ€™t want to go to Oxnard. They want to stay here because this is what they know and maybe they grew up here. This is all theyโ€™ve ever known. And so, you see a much higher success rate when you keep people close to their homes and where they feel safe and comfortable,โ€ South said.

She said the goal of this center is to provide help to Thousand Oaks residents who are experiencing homelessness. With this goal at the forefront, residents will have to prove a direct or long-term connection to the city.

โ€œYou have to show or demonstrate some sort of connection. Direct connection or longer term tie to Thousand Oaks to be able to receive access to the facility and our vulnerable populations officers help determine that,โ€ South said.

Danny Lopez, a senior deputy in the Ventura County Sheriffโ€™s Department Enforcement Unit for Vulnerable Populations, said he believes the center is a step in the right direction for Thousand Oaks.

โ€œCurrently, we have no shelter in place within the city of Thousand Oaks. This is a step in the right direction. This being a transitional housing shelter, it is going to offer our homeless residents a stable environment, where they can access support services such as job training, counseling, and healthcare,โ€ Lopez said in an email interview. โ€œThis support will help them to address the root causes of their homelessness and gain the skills they need to be- come self-sufficient and also be a contributing member of the community.โ€

Jamshid Damooei, economics professor and executive director of the Center for Economics of Social Issues at California Lutheran University said residents of Thousand Oaks suffer from high housing prices, so this center comes at a good time.

โ€œBased on reliable data (MIT living wage calculator), an adult with one child has a cost of housing of $29,118, which requires a salary of $101,383 before tax. What kind of jobs pay such a salary in this country, and what proportion of families receive such income?โ€ Damooei said in an email interview.

Lopez said the center has the ability to serve as a shortterm solution to the homeless crisis in Thousand Oaks, but there is still work to be done in the long term. He expressed belief in the necessity of affordable housing, easily accessible supportive services, mental health, addiction treatment programs, and employment opportunities in addition to centers like Thrive Grove.

โ€œI think itโ€™s important to recognize that transitional housing can certainly contribute to addressing homelessness, but itโ€™s not a standalone solution,โ€ Lopez said. โ€œIt can provide stability for individuals and family units which can address various issues such as poverty, unemployment, and public safety concerns, but itโ€™s important to complement transitional housing with other initiatives to address the root causes of homelessness.โ€

According to the city of Thousand Oaks website, construction of Thrive Grove will begin summer of 2024, with its completion to come later this year.

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