Now that Ontario’s transitional homeless shelter is up and running, the location, which is at 123 N.E. Third Ave., has been staffed by a combination of volunteers and paid workers supplied by Origins Faith Community.

The shelter, a collaborative effort between the City of Ontario, local nonprofit housing assistance agency Community in Action, and Origins Faith Community, a local faith-based organization that operates New Hope Shelter Services.

The pilot transitional homeless shelter located at the previous site, on North Oregon Street, closed at the end of April 2020. Following this closure, Origins Faith announced it would not be a part of the project.

With the new site secured and people moved into the tiny house units that occupy the site (which is currently at capacity), it is necessary to have staff on hand and that’s where Origins Faith Community comes in. 

Heather Echeveste, who is overseeing the operation management at the shelter, explained more about Origins’ role at the new site in an email received on Thursday morning.

“Origins is contracted to maintain 24/7 shelter oversight, which means there is an employee or volunteer on site at all times. Last year, Origins had to step away from the winter shelter project due to COVID-19. This year Origins is fully vested in the project and ensuring the program requirements are met and we have positive outcomes for all families sheltering at the site,” wrote Echeveste.

She also explained how Origins is currently not open to the public, but that “through planning and scheduling we are able to offer services to individuals one at a time.”

“The services we offer right now are showers, meal prep in our upstairs kitchen, and use of computers for housing search, job search, and anything else that helps them find what they need,” Echeveste wrote.

She said that there is a health and safety protocol in place where each surface or item that is utilized by an individual is “sanitized to COVID-19 standards and allowed to air dry” before the next individual is allowed to access these services.

“We ensure all individuals entering the building have their temperatures taken, use hand sanitizer, and are wearing a mask. Laundry vouchers to the Washtub [laundromat] are also provided when needed,” wrote Echeveste.

Something else she wanted to note is that the daily meal times have changed from 3 to 4 p.m., to 11:30 a.m. to  1 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

“This opens up more hours in the afternoon for continued services and support for anyone that needs them, not just shelter stayers,” she wrote.

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