City, Poverello House Announce New Shelters, Services for Village of Hope

The City of Fresno and the Poverello House today unveiled a new installation at the non-profit service provider that replaces the Tuff Sheds used for housing with 30 new pallet shelters designed and built by people with life experience as homeless individuals.  In addition to the Village of Hope project, the Poverello House also plans to expand its navigation and case management services, all funded completely by private sector donations.

The 30 new pallet shelters, made with highly durable insulated composite panels, provide a safe and dignified space of 100 square feet with a structural floor, roof, walls, folding bunk beds, lockable door and six opening windows with screens.  Each shelter is also equipped with heating and air conditioning, battery operated carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and fire extinguisher and will house two individuals, or in the event of an emergency declaration, up to four homeless individuals.

These new units also meet the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards for emergency shelter beds and could be included as shelter units in the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care’s annual Point in Time count.  The total investment for the new pallet shelter project is $340,000.

“We have neglected our homeless housing issue for far too long and the pandemic finally brought us to take action and replace the old sheds with new shelters that treat the people using them with dignity and respect,” said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. “I’m also pleased that so many organizations stepped forward to donate to this important project and invest in the well-being of our most vulnerable residents.”

Under former Mayor Alan Autry, the City of Fresno partnered with the Poverello House in 2002 to place temporary Tuff Sheds on the Poverello House campus to house nearly 120 people living on the streets as a temporary measure until a long term solution was found.  18 years later, the temporary Tuff Sheds were still in place, so the Poverello House, under the new leadership of Executive Director Zack Darrah, made the replacement of these uninhabitable units one of its top priorities.

In addition to the new shelter units, the Poverello House will also put a strong focus on case management and focused navigation by hiring additional navigators/case managers to develop a long term housing plan to move these individuals from temporary shelter to permanent housing.  The Poverello House will also begin conducting targeted outreach daily to encourage those that are homeless to utilize available shelter beds in the Fresno area.

“Even during these very difficult times, the generosity of the community, and our funding partners has been overwhelming,” said Zack Darrah, CEO of the Poverello House . “It does not matter how long it took to replace these shelter units, the task is finally complete, and as we look forward, rest assure, the Poverello House is totally committed to serving those most vulnerable every day of every year, until the need is no longer there.”

Total funds raised for this project, including shelters, increased services, and other long term costs associated with this effort was $903,500, with support coming from the following private sector funding sources:

Donald E. Gumz Trust                                                       
Bank of America                                                                
Packard Foundation                                                         
Isnardi Foundation                                                           
Rotary Foundation        
Wells Fargo            
Central Valley Community Foundation                 
Fresno First Steps Home