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May 16, 2013

Homeless shelter shows off new quarters

The Salvation Army is holding an open house Friday to show off the roughly $1 million in improvements to its Berberian Homeless and Transition Shelter downtown.

The work included:

Building a women’s shower to add to the shelter’s two shower facilities. The extra shower means men and women don’t have to shower in shifts.

Lowering more of the ceiling to 12 feet. The shelter is in a former food-processing warehouse and takes up less than half of the more than 40,000-square-foot facility, whose ceiling is about 70 feet high. Lowering more of the ceiling will reduce heating and air-conditioning bills.

Installing more security cameras, allowing the shelter to operate with fewer seasonal employees and reduce overtime.

Building a dorm for the homeless who are disabled or have special needs. The dorm has wider aisles to accommodate wheelchairs and electrical outlets for medical devices.

The money for the work came from the state and is essentially free. Salvation Army officials have said it does not have to be repaid as long at The Salvation Army uses it to help the homeless for at least eight years.

The facility operates a 100-bed winter shelter typically from Nov. 1 through March 31, a 40-bed transitional living program (half of the beds are for veterans) and the special needs shelter for about 30 people.

Salvation Army officials will honor the churches and community groups that bring in and serve dinner at the shelter and the people who worked on the upgrade. The event is open to everyone, but local dignitaries, such as Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh, are expected to attend.

The Salvation Army suggests those who are coming to the open house to bring a gift such as shampoo, bath towels, toilet paper, men’s and women’s underwear, and toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The shelter is at Ninth at D streets and the open house starts at 11:45 a.m.

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