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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

110-Bed, $43M Shelter to Be Built in Oxnard

Nonprofit housing services organization Mercy House and affordable housing developer Community Development Partners are collaborating on an Oxnard campus called Casa de Carmen and the Oxnard Navigation Center. The complex will use a shelter-with-housing model and be located next door to the Oxnard City Hall. 

The shelter-with-housing design is a first for Oxnard and Ventura County. 

The $42.6 million project leverages funding from multiple local, state and federal sources. The City of Oxnard is contributing $1.5 million and a parcel of city-owned land.

Once completed, the shelter will have beds, bathrooms, showers and a kitchen to serve 110 adults.

The four upper floors will have 56 supportive housing units (including one manager unit); a community room with kitchen; computer workstations; and office spaces where residents can receive private case management and services. Shelter beds are designed with spaces for pets to sleep underneath them. 

Guests and residents will also share access to a rooftop deck with barbeque and pet exercise areas. The project is expected to open in early 2024. 

“After a long process and community input, we have the first major site for our homeless,” Oxnard Mayor John C. Zaragoza said in a statement. “As a community, we must not neglect the human side of homelessness. These are our neighbors, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who’ve lost the hope, comfort and dignity of having a guaranteed place to rest their heads at night.” 

Larry Haynes, chief executive of Mercy House added that “Casa de Carmen and the Oxnard Navigation Center will be more than a homeless shelter, more than new housing. It’s a promising, powerful combination of both. What makes the campus innovative and ambitious is that it will provide immediate relief to unhoused people in Oxnard and give them a path to achieving long-term stability — all in the same location.”

Over the past decade, CDP and Mercy House have collaborated to create several permanent supportive housing developments throughout Southern California, but the Oxnard facility is the first time they are combining a shelter with housing on the same site.

“It was important for Mercy House as the service provider to be deeply involved in the building and site design,” said Kyle Paine, president of Community Development Partners. “We took a vacant, boarded-up building and are replacing it with a beautiful, colorful, hopeful place.” 

Mercy House will operate the shelter and provide residential services for people in the supportive housing units. Wrap-around case management services will be provided by Ventura County Behavioral Health. 

The name of the supportive housing section — Casa de Carmen — honors the late Carmen Ramírez, former chair of the County of Ventura Board of Supervisors and longtime Oxnard City Council member, who died in August at age 73 when she was struck by a car and killed while crossing a street in downtown Oxnard.

“Carmen always supported Housing First initiatives, and she was passionate about this project in Oxnard,” said Roy Prince, Ramírez’s husband. “I am grateful for Carmen to be honored by this project that provides affordable housing in Downtown Oxnard. This is a model for providing our community with pathways out of homelessness and inspiring innovative housing solutions throughout Ventura County.”

Funding for Casa de Carmen and the Oxnard Navigation Center is supported by a 4% Low Income Tax Credits allocation; a $17 million equity investment from Red Stone; $7.2 million of No Place Like Home program funds from the California Department of Housing and Community Development; a $1.5 million investment from the city of Oxnard; a $1 million investment from the county of Ventura; and a Section 8 contract for 55 project-based vouchers administered by the Housing Authority of the city of Oxnard. 

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk is a managing editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. She previously covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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