What is Connections?
Connections is an Emergency Shelter. People with a housing crisis will be able to come to Connections and be connected with the appropriate supportive services provided by our community partners. Our goal is to end homelessness.
What is the vision of Connections?
It is unrealistic to expect people living outside, in a car or tent or even in a shelter to be able overcome major hurdles in their lives, such as a job loss, addictions or mental health issues, without being housed first.
Promoting hope and having the attitude of Housing First is paramount for helping people get back home and is a regular part of our daily interaction with our guests.
Connections should be part of the process of getting someone housed and NOT a destination. It should be clear to all who come through our doors that we offer a safe place to start this process and are focused on getting people home.
Federal, state, county, non-profits, social service providers, mental health agencies, hospitals, law enforcement, and faith based organizations to name just a few.
So Connections is like those missions I see for the homeless?
No. Connections is not a faith based program nor do we provide religious services. We do provide upon request information regarding local faith based organizations and their services. Attending a specific faith based service is not a requirement of staying at Connections.
What exactly is an Emergency Shelter?
HUD (Housing and Urban Development) defines it as “any facility the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary or transitional shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations of the homeless”. The key here is temporary. Connections is not a destination but a provider of connections to services targeting a specific need of a person to help them get stable housing.
How do you get people into stable housing?
There are several services available; Rapid re-housing; transitional housing; permanent housing; and prevention strategies to address the various needs of homeless persons and persons at risk of homelessness.
But there are so few places to rent in Mariposa. How can you get people housed fast?
The housing crisis is everywhere, not just in Mariposa county. Housing cost has been a growing concern of many in California, and across the nation. Getting stable housing is a challenge but this is an area where Mariposa as a community can show their metal.
Mariposa has a history of helping our fellow neighbor in times of crisis, be it from a fire, flood or someone in need, and Mariposa has always stepped up to the challenge. Our staff and our community partners are among several dedicated individuals that are continuously reaching out to landlords across the County to build relationships and to build a network of available housing units.
If you would like to see what you can do in this crisis as a landlord, we’d love to speak to you.
What are your hours of operation?
Connections is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Do you have a curfew?
We don’t have a curfew or a cut off time for accepting someone for the night. We do have a quiet time, between the hours of 10:00PM and 7:00AM so as to be good neighbors.
What about traffic or cars?
There is assigned parking on the Connections property off of the street. We don’t allow guest or staff to park anywhere else. Our Community partners have been providing transportation to the homeless community to and from the shelter provided by the County of Mariposa and will continue to do so for Connections. There will be some who will walk or bike to Connections due to their jobs or inability to get a ride when they need one.
How many beds do you provide?
We provide 16 beds in our communal living space. 24 more beds inside of two sleeping trailers.
Will there be tents like I’ve seen at other shelters?
No tents. We have all indoor bedding.
Will sleeping in cars be allowed?
No sleeping in cars will be allowed on Connections property.
Will you be serving meals like breakfast, lunch or dinner?
No meals will be provided at Connections, only healthy snacks and drinks. Meals are provided by community partners as they always have been.
Is there mail services for guest?
No mail services are provided. Mail services are provided by other community partners and the USPS does have a service for the homeless community that provides a P.O. box.
How about phone, internet or television?
There are no public phones. The Connections office phone may be used on an emergency basis. There is limited internet service and no computers. There are also no televisions at Connections. These services and more are already provided by other community partners.
Will there be medical services at the shelter?
No. Connections is unable to provide these services. Connections will provide the resources to our guests to obtain medical services through our community partners.
Are there showers or laundry facilities?
There is a single outside shower trailer that is wheelchair accessible. There is no laundry facilities onsite. Additional showers and laundry services are available through our community partners.
Sounds like there are not many services at the shelter.
That is correct. Connections is not a permanent living solution for our homeless community but a resource for people to become connected to these services and more. Our primary goal is to provide temporary shelter and get people into stable housing as soon as possible.
Do you allow visitors?
Yes. We ask that all visitors check in with staff at the office. We need to ensure everyone’s safety in case of an emergency and knowing how many people are at Connections at any time is required.
Confidentiality of our guest is paramount so access to certain areas may be limited when in use. Visiting is limited to one hour between the hours of 9am – 7pm (M-F), 10am – 6pm, (Sat – Sun).
I heard that only people on parole or probation can stay at Connections, is that true?
Not at all. If a person is in a housing crisis, they are welcome.
I heard Connections is a low barrier shelter. What does that mean?
We do not require that people be sober, compliant with mental health or addiction treatment plans, or agree to participate in programs to receive services and housing support from us. Instead, we welcome them where they are.
Lowering the barriers that keep people out of an emergency shelter means more people can be connected to the services that can help them with what they need, when they need it.
We do practice a harm-reduction philosophy, recognizing additions and substance abuse may be part of a guest life. Encouraging our guest in a non-judgmental way regarding a destructive behavior, by offering preventative education and support for services to help get them over the issues in their lives.
How about people who are registered sex offenders? Will they be allowed at Connections?
Registered sex offenders (P.C. 290) are not allowed at Connections. There are other resources available to registrants through our community partners.
What kind of security measures do you have?
Connections is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our staff do regular safety checks on our visitors and guests, as well as checks of the Connections property. Security cameras are located throughout the property to ensure loitering and trespassing is discouraged. Law enforcement regularly patrols the neighborhood as well. There is an alarm system and our staff have panic buttons on their person in case of any emergency.
You call the participants ‘guests’. Why is that?
People coming into Connections are considered our guests. As with any guests, they are free to stay or leave, and free to accept or decline what is offered. Just like a guest at your home, there are no requirements that they do something to be able to stay at Connections. It’s part of the low barrier approach we mentioned before.
I have other questions. Who can I talk to?
We would be happy to answer your questions. You can email us at Connections@alliance4you.org, call us at 209-966-2550, or drop by during visiting hours to speak to our staff.