Posted by: twotrees | January 28, 2012

Mutli-purpose Armory

Wednesday night, I went to an event called Gimme Shelter II.  It’s a gathering of people involved with the St. Vincent De Paul, who for years have been sponsoring the winter shelter at the Armory off Main Street in Ventura.  It’s a decent situation – a team of dedicated people work towards converting the National Guard Armory into a ‘home’ for upwards of 150 people nightly.

David Fields of St. Vincent De Paul

It’s a clean, well-organized effort that provides an air mattress, hot meal and shower for those wanting to participate.  ‘Guests’ are screened through the Megan’s Law database, asked a few questions and then admitted for the evening.  Men are separated from women and children, lights are turned down at 10pm.  It looks to be a safe harbor for those needing a roof over their head.

It takes $300,000 to operate the facility for four months, which is only 1/3 of the full year.  That works out to be roughly $15 per person, per night, which seems pretty efficient.  The guests who line up in front of the facility before it opens are from many walks of life.  Some have cars but choose not to sleep in them.  Some walk there from wherever they spend their days.  Some look seasoned, others look to be new to the streets.  Most seemed pleasant and said hello as I walked by.

It was my first time inside such a facility and I was struck by the caring nature of the people who work there, some of whom are former guests themselves.  They work to provide a certain dignity to their work and those who come to the shelter.  And I think the guests appreciate it.

If I was in need, I’d be glad to have a place like this to go.



  1. David, your coverage of this issue and the kind words you have for the people providing these services to those in need are really inspirational. Thanks for posting this

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