Many of Ventura County's homeless find comfort in the warm, dry places open to them for sleeping overnight. Most shelters offer food--a hot meal for dinner, sometimes a pastry or bagel for breakfast and sack lunches for the road. Some facilities have showers. All depend on volunteers. Sometimes volunteers come forward to offer entertainment during dinner--a youth group singing, a bell choir. Or, more practical volunteers give free haircuts. Clothes and toiletries are donated. Each shelter is an opportunity for those with compassion to help men, women and children in need.
Some people find shelter rules too hard to follow and so they live on the street even in cold, rainy weather. For instance. no pets are allowed and some do not want to be separated from their furry companions. But the rules are meant to keep the shelters safe.
Children and adults who sleep in a shelter must show proof of a recent, within 60 days, clear TB test before they will be allowed in a shelter. It's the law. Ventura County Public Health Clinics will provide free TB tests to shelter users. Anyone intoxicated or behaving in a disorderly manner will not be allowed inside any shelter site.
Some shelters, such as the one at the Oxnard Armory, require a one time intake interview and a photo taken upon entry. Shelter I.D. cards are issued. Toiletries and a change of clothes are only allowed when brought inside in a clear plastic bag provided. There is limited, unsecured space for overnight storage of personal items.
Here is a List of Homeless Shelters available in Ventura County (courtesy of County of Ventura Human Services Agency) (Info current as of November and subject to change, so call first)
Our Place Shelter, 538 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura, operated by Turning Point Foundation is open year round. Serves homeless mentally ill/single men and women with place to sleep, showers, meals, laundry facilities, mail and phone and case management. Capacity is 10. There is a waiting list. 805.652.2151.
Ventura County Rescue Mission, 234 E. 6th Street, Oxnard open year round. Provides place to sleep, hot meal, shower for up to 35 single men for up to 10 consecutive nights. Check-in at 5:30 p.m. Call 805.487.1234.
West County Winter Shelter at the Ventura National Guard Armory, 1270 Arundell, Ventura. Open to families and singles. Check in 6pm, exit 6am. Capacity 125. Hot meal, place to sleep, shelter. Hot meal served 6:30pm to 7:30pm. 805.385.1800
Lighthouse Womens & Childrens Mission--Emergency Shelter, 104 N. Hayes, Oxnard, operated by The Rescue Mission Alliance year round. Serves single women, mothers with children (boys up to 10 years old). Provides a place to sleep, hot meals and shower. Capacity for 30. Call 805.385.7200.
Simi Valley P.A.D.S. has rotating meal sites year round and overnight sleep sites from November 1 to March 31. Simi Valley residents only. Families and singles. Overnight shelter sites open at 7:45 p.m. with a capacity that varies by site from 30 to 40 people. For dinner sites and other information, call 805.579.9166 Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. only.
Kingdom Center Women's Shelter at 1450 S. Rose Ave, Oxnard has year-round shelter for up to 18 single women and women with children. Call 805.487.3445 for more info.
Dinner sites by the Samaritan Center of Simi Valley as of November 2013 are summed up at thesamaritancenterofsimivalley.org/#/services/dinner-sites. or call 805.579.9166 for details (and for year-round meal sites). The schedule varies. Locations include the following:
- Sundays: Knights of Columbus, 1255 Patricia Avenue
- Mondays: Cornerstone Church, 2080 Winifred Street
- Tuesdays: Trinity Lutheran, 2949 Alamo Street
- Wed (12/6, 12/13, 12/27 only): Knights of Columbus, 1255 Patricia Avenue
- Thursdays: Community Church, 2000 Royal Avenue
- Fridays: Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 4191 Cochran St.
- Saturdays: United Methodist Church, 2394 Erringer Road
- And others, staffed by numerous community organizations
Ojai Valley Family Shelter has rotating Church sites with 6 p.m. check in from December 1 to March 31 to serve Ojai residents only (must show 6 month proof of residency). Hot meals, a place to sleep and showers. Up to 25-30 singles and families are welcome. Call 805.804.7094.
- Sunday: Wesleyan Church, S. Ventura & Topa Topa Street
- Monday: St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 409 Topa Topa
- Tuesday: St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic, 185 St. Thomas Drive
- Wednesday: St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 409 Topa Topa
- Thursday: Ojai Presbyterian Church, 304 N. Foothill
- Friday: Ojai Valley Grange Hall, 381 Cruzero, Mira Monte
- Saturday: First Baptist Church, 930 Grand Avenue, Ojai
Conejo Valley Winter Shelter locations are open from December 1 to March 31 for families first and working singles next. Each provides a place to sleep, hot meals, breakfast and a sack lunch for 25 to 30 people. Check in begins at 5:45 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. Call 805.497.6207. Showers are available on Wednesday. CLICK HERE for specific locations.
Lutheran Family Services of Ventura County, based out of Thousand Oaks, may have additional resources for meals (not shelter). They can be reached at www.lsssc.org or 805.497.6207.