SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Paul’s Place, a new resource center for the unhoused, will open this spring in Davis.
The four-story building will offer emergency shelter, as well as temporary and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness.
“When we designed this, we purposely put in different programs all under one roof, which is not that common,” said Bill Pride, executive director for Davis Community Meals and Housing.
The nonprofit focuses on helping low-income individuals and families have safe places to live. The organization has owned the property Paul’s Place is built on since 1994.
The previous building was in needs of repair and did not offer all the services the organization wanted to provide. The idea of Paul’s Place was formed in 2017, and despite a delay from COVID, will open later this year.
Pride says one goal during the fundraising process for the new center was to use as little government money as possible. A majority of the funds came from private funders and Davis residents.
“We thought it would allow us to have more control of what we’re doing. The final result means we have a little bit more leeway in who we can accept into the program,” Pride said.
Paul’s Place is set up to be an all-in-one resource center for people living on the streets. The first floor has drop-in services like laundry, showers and emergency shelter beds. The second floor has 10 transitional housing units; people can stay in this housing for a few months while looking for other places to live. On the third and fourth floors are 18 permanent housing units.
“These are all self-contained units and it’s going to be operated as what’s called a ‘housing first model,’ which means taking folks off the streets, regardless of what their circumstances are and moving them into housing,” Pride explained.
Giving people a second chance is personal to Pride. His dad, Paul, the namesake of the housing center, was a WWII veteran who battled with alcoholism. His life turned around after spending time in jail for drunk driving. Pride shares his dad got involved with AA and never drank again.
“My lesson from that is that anybody can change, and that’s what we hope happens here at Paul’s Place. It’s a place for people to make changes, make better changes and have better lives. And that’s what we hope to accomplish here,” Pride shared.
Paul’s Place could provide a second chance for someone like Josh Gill, an unhoused resident in Davis. He sleeps in a tent right outside the complex. The 34-year-old was recently released from jail and has been living on the street ever since.
“It looks like a nice new building and there’s a lot of room in there and hopefully we can all get there however we get there,” Gill said.
There are about 180 people experiencing homelessness in the city of Davis, according to the last count. Gill notes being addicted to drugs as a primary reason people struggle to move forward.
“Quitting is tricky. It can be harder on the streets because it’s so common and sometimes you’re more likely to get high than to go eat,” adds Gill.
Pride says the community coming together to fund Paul’s Place show they are here to support their city’s unhoused population.
“Helping them make that transition from the streets to being housed again is exceedingly complicated by facts that are beyond their control. So even when they make better choices and are doing better in life, sometimes you just don’t have places for them to go,” Pride points out. “So building more housing and having those facilities open for them that they can make that change I think is extremely important.”
There is no set date for Paul’s Place to officially open, but Pride expects the first residents to be welcomed in a few months and for the apartment building to be fully operational by the fall.
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