Safe Space Chico moves cooling center to new location

Safe Space Chico moved to Chico Friends Meeting Center so it could keep its cooling center open an extra month.

Posted: Jul 19, 2021 6:17 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2021 2:31 PM

CHICO, Calif. -Safe Space Chico moved to Chico Friends Meeting Center at 1601 hemlock so it could keep its cooling center open an extra month. The cooling center will now run every day through Aug. 18 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The new location has six ceiling fans, box fans and a large central vent to help keep people cool.

All people using the cooling center are required to wear masks indoors. Chairs in the center are spread six feet apart to help enforce social distancing.

"We have cold water, snacks, dog food, dog water, shade and supporting the loving staff here and volunteers ready to help someone cool down," Safe Space Chico's Shelter Operations Manager Marin Hambley said.

Some homeless people living in City Plaza say the new cooling center is less than ideal. The center is a 20-minute walk and many aren't willing to make the trip when City Plaza gives them all the shade they need.

"The people offering the cooling center are they 24-7? I'm 24-7. I have a home. I sleep here," homeless man Dejoun Jones said. 

Jones has been homeless since 2019 and has tried to help as many people like him. His tent in City Plaza is full of supplies he uses to give simple first aid, food and other amenities. 

Other homeless people in the area told Action News Now that a shuttle or way to transport people would help get them to the cooling center while others said there was difficulty finding the location without a map.

"We need simple things like water, gloves. But instead of just being put on a spot come down here, share it with us. To be honest, we just need a larger voice because no one hears us and no one knows we're out here," Jones said.

Organizers of the cooling center know the location is not a permanent solution, but they hope it can offer some a place of peace and rest during the summer. 

To create more lasting change, Safe Space Chico is looking for donations to hire a part-time case manager at the cooling center.

Their job would be to help guests with housing services, finding shelter, getting photo IDs, access to mental health and medical care, and more.

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