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Some Homeless Chico Park Campers Enter Motel-To-Shelter Program

True North Housing Alliance

Some homeless people displaced from Bidwell Park encampments in Chico are being offered motel rooms for two weeks.

Joy Amaro, executive director at True North Housing Alliance, says about 20 people are currently quarantining at a local motel before moving to the Torres Community Shelter.

Amaro says the motel-to-shelter program was hatched this week when city officials began moving homeless campers from the park under threat of citation or arrest.

“Some folks rode their bicycles to the motel, and some folks I drove and got them there safely, checked in, showered,” Amaro said. “Partnered with the Jesus Center on food delivery, so they’ll be receiving meals three days a week.” 

The goal, Amaro says, is to continue offering motel rooms to displaced campers in phases over the next two months until the Torres Shelter is full. The shelter has about 58 open beds, which is about half of its remaining capacity.

Amaro says the state awarded her organization about $187,000 for a shelter project about two years ago. The county facilitates the funding, and the money had to be used for a project by the end of May.

“The county administers that, and so that’s why the county called me on Tuesday night and said, ‘Is this something that you could do?’” she said.

Amaro says her team at the emergency shelter will work with displaced campers to determine their needs and help find more stable housing.