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