CHICO — The size of Torres Shelter will continue to expand after the Urban Planning Commission approved an increase in the occupancy rate from 125 beds to 195 beds.
The move comes at a time when the True North Housing Alliance, which operates the Torres shelter, began construction in July to increase the area of its shelter.
The non-profit organization worked with local planner and designer Mike Trolinder to reconfigure the existing building of the refuge at 101 Silver Dollar Way in Chico. The investment for the project came from consultant Russell Gallaway Associates Inc., and the funding came from the city.
Joy Amaro, executive director of Torres Shelter, said that the expansion project should be completed within the next month because the interior of the shelter was largely demolished and updated, and space was created for additional beds.
“Going back to the day when the shelter was built in 2003, the dormitory was basically just a huge open space. Later, the construction project of Chico State University came in and built 8 family rooms, because we saw something that we had never seen in 2003. Families increase,” Amaro said.
Amaro said that with the launch of Aurora North, this is a transitional housing program for families previously served by Torres Shelter who now live in the space provided by the new program.
“We moved these families from Torres Shelter to Aurora North so that we could add beds by demolishing all these rooms,” Amaro said. “Basically, we just go back to the original floor plan, and then we can add extra beds.”
Although the expansion is nearly complete, Amaro said there is another challenge that is hindering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amaro said: “Due to the new coronavirus, we can’t go to 195 right away because we have to maintain social distancing.” “Once all the work is said and completed, we will have to look at it. According to the bed’s social distance and public space, How much can we increase.”
Although full occupancy may have to wait, the shelter is undergoing other updates, including space lights, bunk beds, and a new central entrance for admitted people. Existing guests will get a gated courtyard entrance and their own storage room. The current storage room will be relocated and upgraded to a gender-neutral living space, and plans to add more rest areas.
Amaro said that the main goal is to make this space more suitable for people living in, creating additional space, including lounges.
“We also demolished some office space so that we can create rest areas, because apart from the restaurant, we really don’t have space for people to hang out,” Amaro said. “It will be more like a kind of’friendship’.” We are trying to get rid of the feeling of the system. “
Amaro said that the expansion is expected to be completed by the end of October.