Community center to provide emergency shelter

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

FAIRFIELD - As cold weather continues to sweep through the county, city officials and local shelters are working together to protect those most at risk - the homeless.

In response to unusual freezing temperatures at night, the city of Fairfield provided an emergency shelter starting Friday night at the Fairfield Community Center from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. while Mission Solano Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter, will open the Community Outreach Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to fill the daytime gap.

"The city wanted to provide services in light of the cold weather, a place where people can go in the evening," said John De Lorenzo, director of community services. "If people need a safe and warm place to go, we'll have bedding, some basic food, water and have bathroom facilities available.

"We want to make sure people are safe and are taken care of," he said.

Working in conjunction with the American Red Cross, which is providing the bedding, the city will open several rooms at the large facility - enough to accommodate up to 200 - tonight. If temperatures continue to dip below freezing, the city will open the center through Sunday night.

Local police and firefighters began combing the streets and circulating flyers on Thursday night, both in English and Spanish, to various homeless encampments and the elderly in hopes of providing shelter and protecting them from the extreme cold.
"We told the police and firefighters that if they saw anyone in distress to get them out of the cold," said Nancy Huston, assistant city manager. "So far, there has been no one in distress, but (Friday) will be much colder. We'll see."

On Thursday night, as temperatures dropped below 30 degrees, more than 75 homeless people made their way to Mission Solano on Travis Boulevard, where 49 were bused to Rockville Bible Church while the remaining stayed at the shelter's Outreach Center.

Any overflow of people visiting Mission Solano tonight will be transported to the Community Center for shelter. Todd Bertani, pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, also offered the church facility if space is needed for those seeking shelter.

Blankets and warm clothing, provided by the county, were dispersed on Wednesday and Thursday to several homeless encampments by Patrick Stasio, Solano County health assistant.

Various departments from Solano County Health and Social Services also contacted several of their clients in their senior and children programs to ensure this vulnerable group is "safe and set" for the weekend weather, said Patrick Duterte, Solano County Health and Social Services director. He added the county will open a further shelter if needed over the holiday weekend.

Donations are needed by various facilities providing shelter, including Mission Solano, The Salvation Army, Fairfield Community Center, Three Oaks Community Center and the Christian Help Center, during the next couple of days, including food, blankets and warm clothing.

Facilities that will offer shelter:

Mission Solano, 740 Travis Blvd., Fairfield, 422-1011 (will be open during day 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. People will be bused to a church site or the Fairfield Community Center at night. Will offer food and refreshments).

Fairfield Community Center, 1000 Kentucky St., Fairfield (Open 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and will offer basic food and refreshments).

The Salvation Army, 1216 Missouri St., Fairfield, 426-6244 (will offer coffee, snacks and warmth during day hours).

Three Oaks Community Center, 1100 Alamo Drive, Vacaville, 449-6122 (open 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.)

The Christian Help Center, 2166 Sacramento St., Vallejo, 553-8192 (will be open during day and evening hours).