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Cold weather homeless shelters open this week

County program provides access to 395 additional beds

Homeless residents of the County of Santa Clara have access to as many as 395 additional shelter beds starting this week, county officials said.

Each year, the county's Cold Weather Shelter Program provides extra beds starting the Monday after Thanksgiving and ending March 31.

The program offers 130 shelter beds at the Gilroy Armory, 125 beds at the North County Winter Shelter in Sunnyvale and up to 140 beds in 35 family housing units at the Ochoa Winter Family Shelter in Gilroy.

"Sheltering homeless children, families and individuals is of critical importance," Supervisor Mike Wasserman said in a statement.

"We must do all we can to prevent cold weather deaths and remember that every single person who comes to the shelter is somebody's son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father and they need our help," Wasserman said.

The Gilroy Armory Shelter and the shelter in Sunnyvale will also offer hot showers, two meals a day, employment resources and medical care.

Volunteers will provide free haircuts and donated toiletries and clothing, county officials said.

"Our clients are so vulnerable this time of year. One of the key things we do to prevent illness and death is to operate the Cold Weather Shelter Program for the County of Santa Clara," Andrea Urton, CEO of shelter operator HomeFirst, said in a statement.

"Shelters save lives and give us a critical opportunity to engage with clients. For many people experiencing homelessness, a shelter stay is the first step on the path to a permanent home," Urton said.

The new Ochoa Winter Family Shelter in Gilroy, located at Arturo Ochoa Migrant Center, will offer intensive case management to families seeking to transition into stable housing, county officials said.

"The Cold Weather Shelter Program provides shelter to bring homeless adults and families in from the cold," Bob Dolci, housing coordinator for the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing, said in a statement.

"We strive to make additional beds and warming centers available during extreme and inclement weather," Dolci said.

Anyone seeking shelter can call 408-489-8781 for the Gilroy Armory, 408-854-4670 for the Sunnyvale shelter and 408-842-6662, ext. 21 for the Ochoa Winter Family Shelter.

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