Thousand Oaks takes steps to open its first permanent homeless shelter

The+Quality+Inn+%26+Suites+sign+and+office+building+is+slowly+transformed+into+a+new+shelter+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+2%2C+2021.+This+location+will+serve+as+the+citys+new+permanent+homeless+shelter.+Photo+credit%3A+Christina+Mehr

The Quality Inn & Suites sign and office building is slowly transformed into a new shelter on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. This location will serve as the city’s new permanent homeless shelter. Photo credit: Christina Mehr

By Christina Mehr

The City of Thousand Oaks discussed plans to open its first homeless shelter, located at the Quality Inn and Suites on Conejo Blvd. The board collaborated with local developers, property owners and operators to help find an ideal location for the shelter. The city plans for the shelter were discussed in the Sept. 28, 2021 city council meeting.

Shangri-La Industries, a real estate developer, has entered a purchase and sale agreement for the site, which is the Quality Inn and Suites located at 12 Conejo Boulevard.

Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Pena talked about approving the emergency shelters in a city council meeting on September 28.

“This is really a historic consideration this evening,” said Bill-de la Peña. “We are considering whether to approve an emergency shelter and permanent emergency housing in the city of Thousand Oaks for the first time ever.”

With the rise of homelessness, many city officials such as Bill-de la Peña, believe that adding a shelter to the city would greatly benefit the homeless population by giving them permanent shelter and a way off the streets.

The Motel 6 off Conejo Blvd. served as a homeless shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic. It offered homeless people of Conejo Valley a place to quarantine and self isolate.
The Motel 6 off Newbury Rd. in Newbury park serves as a homeless shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. It offers homeless people of Conejo Valley a place to quarantine and self isolate. Photo credit: Christina Mehr

With the large population of homeless people on the streets and in encampments, the city is looking into different options for permanent supportive housing.

“The limited availability of emergency shelters and permanent supportive housing in the city and across the county has resulted in long waiting lists for housing and a growing number of persons experiencing homelessness, including in encampments,” according to the City of Thousand Oaks Emergency Shelter and Permanent Supportive Housing Update Report.

“Shangri-La Industries identified a potential site for permanent supportive housing that aligns with site criteria, including close proximity to local social services, county medical offices and transit.”

This is not the first time Ventura County has needed additional assistance in dealing with the vulnerable population. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a shelter opened for the homeless at Motel 6 off of Newbury Road in Newbury Park.

The city was able to provide shelter to the homeless with the help of Project Roomkey, a program that has helped over 400 homeless people during the pandemic.

County Management Analyst Tracy McAulay of Project Roomkey oversaw the housing efforts and talked about how Project Roomkey and Housing of Homelessness COVID-19 Response effort helped during the pandemic.

“Project Roomkey gave people who were experiencing homelessness and were recovering from COVID-19 or had been exposed to COVID-19 a place to recuperate and properly quarantine outside of a hospital,” said McAulay. “It also provided a safe place for isolation for those who were experiencing homelessness and at high risk should they become infected.”

Additional shelters and helpful resources can be found here.