This holiday season, the non-profit organization Community Through Hope (CTH) partnered with San Diego county's Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities to support the unsheltered community in the South Bay.
Beginning Nov. 29, the non-profit will begin Project ReFresh to provide access to mobile showers, nutrition, hygiene kits and emergency triage services for individuals experiencing homelessness. These services will be held at the Health and Human Services Agency Resource Center at 690 Oxford Street in Chula Vista from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Self-sufficiency specialists, public health nurses and social workers will be provided by HHSA to work onsite.The event was launched in April and is typically held at CTH headquarters at 465 C Street in Chula Vista.
“We’re finally able to have large-scale events and tackle some of the critical medical needs of the community,” said Community Through Hope President and CEO Rosy Vasquez. “Especially before the holidays as folks are getting sicker, this event will help get people the inoculations they need to get them through the holidays and this winter season.”
The Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable communities was launched this year to expand and support populations experiencing homelessness countywide. The Office of Homeless Solutions is one of three within the department.
“The more we can offer assistance in the communities where people live, the more we can build trust and show people that we are there to help them in a way that respects their individual needs and choices,”said Barbara Jiménez, Community Operations Officer with the Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities at the County of San Diego.
Earlier this month, CTH announced their split with the city of Chula Vista in a press conference on Nov.17, and requested accountability as they addressed over $135,000 in supplemental Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding that was unknowingly diverted to the Chula Vista Police Department for traffic control by the city on behalf of CTH. The organization additionally addressed several inaccuracies they claim to be on a Nov. 4 informational item written by City Manager Maria Kachadoorian.
“Though we are grateful to the CVPD for their assistance and have been vocal about thanking them for their service, never was our agency alerted that we were being charged for assistance from School Resource Officers who said themselves that they had no assignment to go to due to school closures,” Vasquez said.
In 2018, The city agreed to provide annual start-up funding to CTH of $30,000 and entered into a one-year agreement with options for two, one-year extensions. Vasquez said CTH signed a contract under former City Manager Gary Halbert.
A share of CARES dollars was anticipated by CTH, but the money was instead diverted to the CVPD to assist with traffic control during the organization’s COVID-19 relief services. The organization said it reached out to the city manager on multiple occasions for clarification, but was turned away by city staff.
City spokesperson Anne Steinberger said that the traffic control provided to CTH was in-kind and no agency is, or was, billed for CVPD support for traffic control services. According to the city manager’s memo, the $30,000 allocation of CARES funds plus an additional $105,843 for a total of $135,843 was used to offset the cost of providing traffic control services to CTH.
The organization continues to partner with community organizations to bring outreach, COVID-19 response and relief services to the South Bay's unsheltered community. Community Through Hope said the intention for Project ReFresh to be a monthly event with the potential for the mobile shower aspect to run every week.