One of Bay Area's largest homeless shelters to launch Redwood City - LifeMoves

The opening is a key milestone in San Mateo’s County ambitious plan to move everybody living on the streets indoors

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One of the Bay Area’s largest homeless shelters is set to open in Redwood City, a key milestone in San Mateo County’s ambitious plan to move everybody living on its streets indoors.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, local officials and project backers touted the 240-unit “navigation center” east of Highway 101 as a cost-effective and “dignified” model for solving the Bay Area’s worsening homelessness crisis.

“Let’s all celebrate today this opening, with the hope that other communities in the Bay Area will follow the lead of San Mateo County and the city of Redwood City to end homelessness throughout our region,” said billionaire Silicon Valley developer John Sobrato, who helped plan the project.

The center, at 275 Blomquist St. in a commercial and industrial area near Redwood Creek, will provide residents with private rooms and bathrooms, as well as onsite medical, mental health and addiction services. At the same time, caseworkers will help them find permanent housing. Residents are expected to move in within the next few weeks.

The new navigation center should help by boosting the county’s shelter capacity to more than 780 units. But as of last year, there were roughly 1,100 homeless people living on the street and about 700 in shelters, according to the latest “point-in-time count.” That was a 20% increase in the county’s total homeless population from 2019.

Santa Clara County, meanwhile, counted more than 10,000 homeless residents last year, a 3% increase from 2019. Alameda County counted about 9,700 people, up 22%. Contra Costa County saw the biggest jump in the Bay Area, up 35% to nearly 3,100. All three counties also have a shortage of shelter beds.

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