Visalia council to vote on low-barrier shelter across from Riverway Sports Park on Monday

Visalia City Council will vote to approve their first low-barrier homeless shelter on Monday, it will be located across the street from the Riverway Sports Park

VISALIA – The Visalia City Council may finally establish the low barrier homeless shelter that they’ve been wrestling with for years, on Monday.

Listed as the 14th item in the June 21 consent calendar – the portion of public agendas where several “routine” items are passed with one motion – the city council will consider allocating funds to develop a 100-bed low-barrier navigation center. The shelter will be built on the east side of Dinuba Boulevard on about three acres of vacant land across from the Riverway Sports Park.

Members of the public can speak to the council during the public comment portion before the council votes on the consent calendar. Each member of the public has three minutes to speak up to at least 30 minutes.

According to the agenda item published on Friday, June 18, city staff recommends the council award a request for proposal to Community Services Employment Training (CSET), authorize over $2 million in community development block grant (CDBG) funds for the low-barrier shelter, authorize $2.1 million of permanent local housing allocation (PLHA) funding and $800,000 in successor agency housing (SAH) funds for operating assistance toward the development and operation of the shelter.

The proposed site will be donated by Self-Help Enterprises, and according to the city staff report is appropriately zoned for a low-barrier shelter. “The property is bordered by Glendale Avenue on the north and Court Street on the east and is zoned Commercial Mixed Use, which permits an emergency shelter as a by-right use,” the staff report stated.

The shelter will have approximately 20,000 square feet of building space. Amenities will include 100 beds, restrooms with showers, kitchen and dining facilities for three daily meals, offices and meeting rooms, a laundry, bicycle storage, storage for personal items, a playground, pet shelter and parking. As a low-barrier shelter they will accept people with partners, pets and possessions.

If approved the project development and construction is expected to begin next month and go through December 2022. An opening date is expected for January 2023.

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