Placerville’s First Low Barrier Shelter

On Monday, February 6th, a new navigation center opened in Placerville for people who are experiencing homelessness in the area. The El Dorado Navigation Center is designed to be a safe indoor space for anyone experiencing homelessness in the Placerville region. With leadership from El Dorado County, the temporary center has been established at a former juvenile detention center. The center is projected to be located there for two years before being moved to a permanent facility that will be constructed nearby.

The navigation center is the first of its kind in El Dorado County, offering short-term shelter for 60 individuals. The El Dorado County Health and Human Service Agency (HHSA) has contracted with Volunteers of America to provide operation and case management services. Haley Armstrong will serve as the program director, leading a support staff that will operate 24/7. The county will provide housing assistance and connect residents to behavioral health services, including addiction and mental health services. Local partners, such as Marshall Hospital, the Upper Room (which will provide meal services), and the Humane Society, are also supporting the project.

The center is equipped with 60 beds and a secured outdoor recreational area. VOA has worked to create a welcoming environment for guests by removing the barbed wire from the fencing and painting the interior. Guests will have access to up to four storage totes and are allowed to bring their animal companions, including cats or dogs.

“Programs like the El Dorado Navigation Center give individuals the opportunity to come to a safe place and access life-changing services. When my wife and I were homeless, it was an overwhelming 24/7 struggle. But the moment we stepped into the shelter, we were treated with love and dignity by the staff and were able to get back on our feet. These shelters can be the first step towards independence for someone.” – VOA Board Chair Nick Himphill

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