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Temporary Emergency Homeless Shelter Opens In Mariposa

MARIPOSA — Guided by a court ruling, a homeless task force, a public health officer’s declaration of a health emergency, and the fast approach of winter, Mariposa County has opened a temporary homeless shelter.

On Friday, Nov. 2, Mariposa County Health and Human Services Agency began operating the temporary four-week emergency shelter for homeless individuals in the community.

“The Darrah School site will be a short-term solution for our Mariposans without a home until a Shelter Crisis Declaration is deliberated and longer term solutions identified.”

According to a county civic alert, the shelter will be patrolled by the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office and have staffing 24-hours a day, seven days a week, by Health and Human Services, Probation, and Alliance employees. The shelter has been established at Darrah Road and Triangle Road.

“We reviewed all possible county-and partner-owned properties and selected the Darrah School site as it is available for immediate use while more permanent solutions are being developed,” county services notes.

The Health and Human Services Agency, using state funding, will provide food and offer transportation to and from town several times per day. Individuals staying at the shelter are undergoing intake processes and will be engaging with case managers to look for longer term housing solutions.

The county says these efforts are in response to a number of concerns:

  • In a 9th Circuit Appellate court decision made in September (Martin v. Boise), the ruling firmly places responsibility upon counties/cities to provide emergency shelter if jurisdictions are moving people off of public lands or criminalizing sleeping in public places.
  • At an Oct. 26 Homeless Task Force meeting, it was determined that homeless living in Mariposa did not have access to shelter nor did they have access to appropriate sanitary facilities.
  • On Oct. 31 the Public Health Officer declared a Health Emergency to address the public health concerns associated with homelessness. This temporary action mitigates risks by conducting health screenings and providing appropriate sanitary facilities.
  • The Public Health Emergency must, however, be followed by a deliberation by the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 5 to make decisions about longer term solutions including discussion of a “Shelter Crisis” declaration.
  • With the upcoming winter, counties are required to ensure that warming shelters are made available. An emergency shelter will ensure we are meeting these requirements.

“Funding for this effort is being provided through existing Health and Human Services dollars, with no County General Fund money being used. Application is underway for additional funding available through the state for a more long-term solution.

“The Darrah School site will be a short-term solution for our Mariposans without a home until a Shelter Crisis Declaration is deliberated and longer term solutions identified.”

Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness in Mariposa County (2015)

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