Grand Junction’s new resource center for the unhoused faces another delay

The unhoused community in Grand Junction, Colorado, will have to wait a little longer for a new resource center that promises to provide them with essential services and support. The center, which was supposed to open on December 20, 2023, has been delayed for a second time due to some unforeseen issues.

A collaborative project to address homelessness

The resource center is a collaborative project between the City of Grand Junction, HomewardBound of Grand Valley, and United Way of Mesa County. The three organizations cut the ribbon on the center on December 11, 2023, in a ceremony that celebrated their joint efforts to address the complex and life-threatening situation of homelessness in the city.

The center, located at 261 Ute Avenue, will be open from sun up to sun down and will provide warming stations, food and water, and access to additional services that may not be easily accessible otherwise. Mutual Aid Partners, a local group that provides weekly aid distribution to the unhoused, will also move their operations into the center.

The resource center is designed to provide hope and dignity to the unhoused community, as well as to connect them with resources that can help them transition to stable housing. According to the 2023 Point-in-Time Count, there were 432 people experiencing homelessness in Mesa County, of which 293 were in Grand Junction.

A temporary solution with a two-year timeline

The resource center is not a permanent solution, however. It is only expected to operate for two years, as the city and its partners work on more long-term and sustainable strategies to address homelessness and housing instability in Grand Junction.

the unhoused faces another delay

The center is a temporary building that was constructed on a vacant lot owned by the city, which plans to develop the site for other purposes in the future. The city leased the land to HomewardBound for $1 per year, and also contributed $300,000 to the project. HomewardBound, which operates the largest homeless shelter in the Grand Valley, raised another $300,000 from private donors and grants. United Way of Mesa County provided $100,000 and coordinated the volunteer efforts for the center.

Bill Wade, chairman emeritus for HomewardBound Grand Valley, said that the resource center is only a stopgap measure that will buy some time for the community to come up with a better solution. “It’s only going to be here two years, because we have to have a community solution that does a better job of solving this problem than just putting up a temporary building,” he said.

The reasons for the delay and the new opening date

The resource center was originally scheduled to open on December 20, 2023, but it faced some delays due to the challenges of building a new facility in a short time frame. Some of the issues that caused the delay included the installation of utilities, the inspection of fire sprinklers, and the coordination of service providers.

The city officials informed WesternSlopeNow that HomewardBound could obtain a permanent Certificate of Occupancy as early as next week, which would allow the center to operate fully. In the meantime, the center has been granted a temporary permit to operate on Tuesdays, when Mutual Aid Partners distribute their aid.

The new opening date for the resource center has not been announced yet, but the city and its partners are hopeful that it will be soon. Mayor Anna Stout said that the city will continue to work on more concrete steps and priorities for how to address the many factors that lead to homelessness and housing instability in Grand Junction. “In the meantime, let us embrace this resource center and let us embrace everything that it represents in our commitment to a more dignified future and hope for people who are experiencing homelessness and housing instability,” she said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *