OCEANSIDE — If it were up to Bread of Life Rescue Mission staff, its year-round homeless shelter would have opened yesterday. Pastor Steve Bassett said there is growing need for temporary housing for people trying to get back on their feet, and the added challenge of a lack of affordable housing.
The 2016 Regional Task Force for the Homeless point in time count found Oceanside has 392 unsheltered homeless individuals, more than twice the number it had last year.
Bassett said he believes the number of city homeless is even higher.
He said he has seen firsthand the struggles of families and individuals who come to the rescue mission soup kitchen and food bank.
“In 10 years’ time we tripled the amount of people we served (in food support services),” Bassett said. “We used to serve a few hundred people, now we serve a few thousand.”
To extend Bread of Life’s homeless shelter from a four-month winter shelter to a year-round shelter an additional $25,000 a month is needed for paid staff and operations. The goal is to almost double its current budget, which is about $30,000 a month.
The rescue mission receives city funds on a year-to-year basis to operate its winter shelter for single men and women, which is open from Dec. 1 through March 31. Along with a place to sleep and meals, the program provides a case management worker who helps clients set goals and follow through to secure employment and permanent housing.
To raise sufficient funds to operate a year-round shelter the rescue mission is courting grants and donors, and readying to launch a GoFundMe campaign.
A $10,000 city application process, which includes securing a conditional use permit, to operate a 12-month shelter also needs to be funded.
Bassett said as soon as $2,500 is raised, Bread of Life will begin the city application process and continue to raise the remainder of money for the application, and future operations costs.
“When the money is committed we’ll begin the process with the city and jump through all the hoops,” Bassett said.
Another step the rescue mission has taken is its two full-time pastors, including Bassett, have been trained and certified to be case management workers. This enables the rescue mission to serve more people. It also aids it to receive more grant funds.
The Bread of Life Rescue Mission has served the region for 13 years. It offers a winter homeless shelter, soup kitchen, food bank and optional gospel studies and Sunday services.
The rescue mission is also a member of the Alliance for Regional Solutions network of support services.