The Clovis City Council voted Tuesday to allow the Marjaree Mason Center to build a domestic violence shelter in Clovis, making it the first homeless shelter of any kind in the city.
The vote was 4-0, with Mayor Harry Armstrong absent.
Pamela Kallsen, executive director of the Marjaree Mason Center, said the center has been working to put a shelter in Clovis for about 10 years.
"It has been a long time coming," she said. "After many years, we have finally put all the pieces together."
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The 5,000 square-foot shelter will have seven bedrooms that can house up to 30 people. It will be used as a transitional living facility for women and children who are domestic violence victims. The shelter also will offer emergency housing.
The center will provide clients from Clovis and surrounding communities with food and housing and fulfill basic needs. Emergency clients can stay up to 90 days; transitional clients can stay up to two years.
"What we want to help them do is become self-sufficient, and they can't do that overnight," Kallsen said.
Council Member Bob Whalen said that many homicides in Clovis are linked to domestic violence, so the shelter will fill a dire need in the community. "We need to ... make sure that we keep services available to those that are victims of domestic violence in Clovis."
The Clovis Community Development Agency owns the property and will lease it to the Marjaree Mason Center for $100 per year for 55 years. The agency also will provide funding for development fees, off-site construction costs and related expenses.
The money will come from affordable-housing funds. The agency expects to spend no more than $250,000.
Granville Homes will build the shelter, donating the labor and material costs, and then lease it to the center. Kallsen said she expects to break ground on the shelter in about six to eight months.
The location of the shelter was not disclosed at the meeting, because of state law limiting disclosure of such shelters and to protect future shelter clients.
Once the shelter is up and running, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide the shelter with about $200,000 per year to help cover operating costs and pay employees. The center will rely on donations to cover the rest of its expenses.
The shelter will be staffed around the clock and will offer on-site counseling. Kallsen said she expects to hire about 10 employees.
The center still needs donations to cover furniture, playground equipment and other operation costs, Kallsen said.
Anyone interested in donating can call Kallsen at (559) 237-4706 or visit www.mmcenter.org.