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City of Chico Seeks Locations for Emergency Shelters

Chico City Council tonight will decide whether or not to continue working to set up an emergency winter-shelter program.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 4:15 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 9:14 AM

Chico, Calif. -- Should the City of Chico move forward with plans to set up an emergency shelter program when the weather gets cold?

That's on the agenda for tonight's City Council meeting.

For people who are homeless, it could be a lifesaver - nearly every years, one or more people die from exposure to the elements (the impact of the cold).

The city's working to use get a pop-up shelter plan in place, and the cost to taxpayers would be minimal- remember that Homeless Emergency Aid Program, or "HEAP" funding we got when City Council declared a shelter crisis in Chico?

That will help, a lot.

A few different non-profts, including the North Valley Housing Trust, are working on a "Code Blue" type program with the city right now, setting criteria of when and where to start a pop-up shelter.

But the problem is where to put these shelters.

"There's money, there's resources, there's volunteers at the ready, we are ready to go. the only reason that doesn't exist today is real estate. for inter shelter or even permanent shelter, it's still a real estate problem," said Mayor Randall Stone.

The Old Municipal Building was one idea of where people could go for a pop-up shelter to spend a frigid winter night.

But there are problems with that suggestion.

Another was the Graduate building, but that'd cost $120,000 needs electrical re-wiring.

The North Valley Athletic Center - but that's cost $300,000 and has black mold issues.

Chico's mayor says the current emergency shelter program is run by non-profit "Safe Space" and they can only house about 60 people a night - they're always at capacity.

The meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers on Main Street in downtown Chico.

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We had a nice cooldown compared to yesterday, but we're still warmer than average here in northern California, and the breezes are blowing. We'll have similar highs Friday but the wind will get stronger, and more wind is coming.
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