CHICO, Calif. - The Jesus Center announced on Monday that it is withdrawing from the Orange Street Shelter Project to focus on its own long-term project.
The proposed shelter has received opposition from representatives of Chico State as well as community members living in the proposed area of the shelter, which is at 388 Orange Street, Chico.
Laura Cootsona, executive director of the Jesus Center, said that the organization is withdrawing from the project partially due to opposition from community members, but also so that the center can focus on its Renewal Center project, an integrated homeless services center.
"Given the public's reaction to the Orange Street Shelter project, the Jesus Center Board and senior staff quickly realized that our community was very divided - a possible symptom of trauma in the wake of the Camp Fire," Cootsona said in a press release. "Although current services are at maximum capacity and there are hundreds without shelter, our community is challenged to find the space and the civic will for this kind of project."
While the center is withdrawing from the project, it highlighted the importance of providing services for the homeless in the community, which it hopes to achieve through its Renewal Center.
"We worry that without additional services, the lives of our homeless citizens and the overall community's quality of life will both deteriorate," she said.
Angela McLaughlin, president of Safe Space Winter Shelter, said in a news release on Monday morning that the organization still remains committed to moving forward with the Orange Street Shelter Project in the Jesus Center's absence.
"We believe strongly that in light of ongoing trauma and displacement in our community, failing to expedite additional services or shelter will only further exacerbate the crisis," McLaughlin said, in a press release. "The Orange Street Shelter will not only save lives but yield improvements in the quality of life for everyone in our community."
The organization plans to provide wrap-around services including case management, housing navigation, mental health and vocational training at the Orange Street Shelter.
The Jesus Center also said that although it is withdrawing from the Orange Street Shelter Project, its relationship with the Safe Space Winter Shelter is positive and they hope to partner with them in the future on shared projects.
For more information on the Jesus Center's Renewal Center Project, CLICK HERE.