Chico – The size of the terrace shelter will be increased from 125 beds to 195 beds after approval by the City Planning Commission.
The move comes as the True North Housing Alliance, which operates the Torres Shelter, began construction in July to increase the floor space of its shelter.
The nonprofit worked with local planner and designer Mike Trilinder to renovate the shelter’s existing building at 101 Silver Dollar Way in Chico. The project’s input consultant came from Russell Galway Associates Inc. and funds were secured from the city.
Joy Amaro, executive director of Torres Shelter, said the expansion should be completed within the next month after the interior of the shelter was significantly damaged and updated, making room for extra beds.
“In the days when shelters were built in 2003, dormitories were basically huge open spaces. Next time, Chico State Construction comes and builds eight family rooms because we grew such families in 2003, ”Amaro said.
Amora North said Aurora North, a bridge housing program for families that was previously served by Torres Shelter, is now relocating these families to the space provided by the new program.
“We have moved the families from the Torres Shelter and to Aurora North so that we can increase the capacity of our beds by removing all those rooms,” Amro said. “Basically, we’re just going back to the original floor plan and then we’ll be able to add extra beds.”
Although the expansion is almost complete, Amaro said there is another challenge in the way – the Covid-1 epidemic.
“Because of Kovid, we can’t go to 195 right now because of the social distance,” Amaro said. “Based on the social distance of the bed and being in a common place, we need to see how much we can increase after all the work is said and done.”
While full occupancy may have to wait, other updates to the shelter are being made as well as space lights, bunk beds and a new central entrance for admitted people. Existing guests will receive a doorway entrance with their own storage. The existing storage room will be relocated and upgraded to a gender-neutral living space and more rest areas are planned.
Amaro said the main goal is to make the space more welcoming for those staying, creating additional space, including a lounge room.
“We’ve also ruined some office space so we can make a lounge space because we don’t have a place to hang out other than the dining hall,” Amro said. “It simply came to our notice then. We are trying to stay away from institutional feelings. ”
Amaro said a full expansion is expected by the end of October.