Residents of a homeless shelter the city closed down settled into their new homes today.
About 40 residents moved on Wednesday into six apartments and several hotel rooms near Fusion Church, which housed the shelter at 29385 Rancho California Rd.
The shelter originally opened during the winter.
The city gave the organization permission to operate in the church during the rainy season, but once that ended, they were ordered to close.
To read more about the city’s order, .
Supporters of the shelter went to the Civic Center during a meeting and urged the City Council to allow the shelter to stay open.
To see a video of the meeting, or read the story by .
Project TOUCH, a program of God’s Fan Club, the nonprofit that ran the shelter, paid for the new locations with donations, said Anne Unmacht, the project’s director.
The vast majority of the funds came from small donations, though a large donation of $15,000 came from Temecula resident Dick Mohammed.
The organization got a good deal from the landlords, she said. It will pay $300 deposits and $1,199 per month for three-bedroom, two-bathroom units, Unmacht said.
Many of the shelter’s residents were happy to make the move. Twenty-five-year-old aspiring actor Joseph Nash, for example, was looking forward to the move.
He moved into the shelter a few weeks ago when he and his boyfriend broke up.
They were living together, so he was left homeless, he said.
He was looking forward to seeing the new place, he said during a dinner meeting at the church on Tuesday. “If I had nowhere else to go, then I’d be worried. I wouldn’t know what’s going to happen.”
He was among about three dozen people living there before the move, and more people were still coming as volunteers packed up, Unmacht said.
“There’s a huge consensus that an emergency shelter is in need quickly,” Unmacht said.
The shelter is changing into more of a program, where clients will be required – and helped – to find work and contribute money, according to the organizers.
The program will have two phases. In the first, the client must pay a small fee. Organizers have yet to decide the amount, but it will likely be $5 to $7, Unmacht said.
Hopefully, in the first few months, the clients can find work and start contributing money toward their room and board.
The details of the plan were still being worked out, Unmacht said. “We’re going to think outside the box.”
The organization plans to scout for a permanent location. Though no solid prospects were lined up, Unmacht feels confident something will come through, she said. “I’ve always done this on faith,” she said.
The project plans to continue to use the church to offer case management and daytime meals, Unmacht said.
The project is looking for appliances and furniture, such as microwave ovens, bunk beds, dining room tables that seat at least six and kitchen and bathroom supplies. All donations are tax deductible.