Task Force Says New Shelter Could Help the Homeless Problem in Chico

POSTED: 6:12 PM Mar 20 2013   UPDATED: 8:30 PM Mar 20 2013
CHICO, Calif. -

The Greater Homeless Chico Task Force is recommending the addition of another homeless shelter in Chico.

Members say it could help get a lot of people off of the streets.

“There aren't any requirements or restrictions.  You can come in and get out of the elements,” said Manager Attorney for the Legal Services of Northern California Chico, Jennifer Haffner.

Haffner is the chair of the Greater Homeless Chico Task Force.  Her group along with Legal Services of Northern California Chico has come with the idea of building another homeless shelter in Chico because they say the Torres Shelter on Silver Dollar Way has too many restrictions.

“There are various reasons that people choose not to go or are not permitted to stay at the Torres Shelters,” said Haffner.

The Torres Shelter says they won't allow anyone to stay if they have a pet, or if they are under the influence of any drug or alcohol, because they don't have the staff to handle those sorts of issues.

Haffner and her organization thought it would be a good idea to have a shelter without these rules.

“Even in the winter months where there's inclement weather when it's raining or cold outside we would like people to have shelter,” said Haffner.

The idea is still in the early stages and there are a few hurdles to jump before it can become reality.

“People have complaints if it's in a neighborhood or next to a certain business.  So we are trying to find a location that the community would agree with,” said Haffner.

“I'm sure they need more shelters. People here would like that,” said James Matthew.

Matthew has been on the streets for more than 30 years. He said he has been kicked out of Torres Shelter for having methamphetamine in his system.

“I went there I was subjected to a drug test and certain analysis that was embarrassing,” said Matthew.

It is an experience he does not want to go through again.

Representatives from the Task Force said they would like to have the shelter up and running by December.