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Turlock shelter invites community to check out renovations
we care program
The We Care shelter will hold an open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at 213/219 S. Broadway, Turlock. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

Turlock’s longstanding shelter for homeless men recently closed its doors, but will soon reopen with newly refurbished bathrooms and showers. The We Care Program, which operates a shelter for homeless men, is hosting an open house on Wednesday for the entire community to check out the renovations before it resumes operations on Friday.

This is the first time work has been done on the bathrooms since the shelter moved to its current N. Broadway facility in 2008, said We Care founding board member Maris Sturtevant. The We Care shelter has been closed since July 1 for the renovations of its six bathrooms, which include eight showers. The work was paid for with City of Turlock Community Development Block Grant funds earmarked for public service programs that benefit low-income residents.

We Care Program has 49 beds open to homeless men seven nights a week for 10 months out of the year. In 2017, the shelter served 281 individuals for 13,581 nights, with 100 of those nights being at full capacity which caused 240 individuals to be turned away. With the shelter running at 92 percent capacity almost year-round, the bathroom remodels were very much needed.

Board President Kelvin Jasek-Rysdahl said the completion of work being done was a good opportunity to invite the community at large to tour the facility and learn more about all the services the nonprofit offers those in crisis.

“The shelter is what everyone talks about and sees, but we have other programs,” he said.

Other programs We Care offers include:

—  Permanent Supportive Housing Program: Housing for individuals and couples who are chronically homeless and have a disability;

— Rapid Rehousing Program: Helps individuals and families who are homeless by paying security deposits and first months’ rent for housing;

— Homeless Prevention: Pays one month of rent for individuals and families who experience a financial hardship such as a loss of job or illness.

The nonprofit has a volunteer Board of Directors and relies on community groups to provide the nightly meals to shelter residents. Dozens of service clubs, church groups, families, student groups and others sign up to prepare and serve meals at the We Care cafeteria.

“It’s tremendous the support we get,” said Jasek-Rysdahl.

The shelter has also been the beneficiary of Eagle Scout projects (to build shelves, awnings, bike racks) and Love Turlock events over the years.

The shelter’s current wish list includes industrial washers and dryers, a stainless-steel kitchen prep table and new mattresses.

Both Sturtevant and Jasek-Rysdahl have witnessed an increase in homelessness and housing insecurity in the area over the past several years, which they attribute to rising inflation and rent in Turlock. They are part of city and countywide collaborations on homelessness.

Jasek-Rysdahl said that he feels the dialogue on homelessness has changed since the recession as more people understand how easy it is to lose a job and then become homeless.

The We Care shelter open house will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at 213/219 S. Broadway, Turlock.