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Respite

March 2, 2020

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There was controversy. Some nimby-ism, perhaps justified concern. But last week, after much back and forth, the Homeless Respite Center opened on L Street.

I attended the volunteer orientation a few weeks ago, had the requisite live scan, and worked my first shift last week–its first day open to the homeless public. Today was my second three-hour shift as a greeter.

It was a lot busier today than last week; word’s gotten out, and I probably welcomed 12-14 folks between 10:30 and 1:30. I didn’t count, though I do track both the comings and goings on a log sheet, and it was about that number. They come to take showers, do laundry, get some sleep, hang out, and, if desired, meet with county case workers who assist with employment opportunities, medical or housing needs, rehab, or whatever else they might need to get back on their feet.

Living so centrally, and walking pretty much daily through Central Park and downtown (as well as driving for the rotating shelter during the winter season), I see a lot — definitely not all — of Davis’ homeless population and at least some of what they are experiencing day to day. I wish their lives were better. I can’t imagine it’s the way they want to spend their time on the planet.

The Respite Center is a really useful and humane resource for the City to provide.  I’m glad they worked it out with neighbors, I’m glad they found the money and resources to open their doors. I hope it alleviates some of the suffering & discomfort and solves some of the problems homeless folks have.

This is what it looks like behind that big locked gate:

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The above shot: The main center is up the stairs and in that trailer. The other visible units here are showers — four in all. To the left, out of shot, are the laundry and rest rooms (literally rest… large room with cots for sleeping).

And below: A small yard, with a basketball hoop. To the right is a storage trailer for belongings, and to the right of that is a place to hang out and play with dogs. The Vet School is piloting a program of dog therapy.. soon to start.

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Definitely nothing fancy, but provides a lot of service.