VICTORVILLE – The Victor Valley Community Warming Shelter, a place where the homeless go to stay warm, fed, and safe on very cold winter nights was burglarized officials said.
The warming shelter was planned and has been open since later November by High Desert Homeless Services and the Victor Valley Rescue Mission. The assistance of dedicated local volunteers helps to keep the costs associated with running such a shelter down by eliminating the costs associated with paid staff. Each night when temperatures fall to 40 degrees or below the doors are open for those in need of a warm place to stay. This began years ago to prevent the unsheltered homeless from suffering a major illness or even death as a result of the extreme cold.
On Sunday morning a regular member of the volunteer staff drove by to check on things and noticed the office had been burglarized. Over a thousand dollars stolen property and damage were caused by the suspect(s). The volunteer called authorities and called other volunteers and staff to assist in identifying what had been stolen during the night. “They took random things including two new outdoor canopies, a couple heaters, coffee, food items, blankets, a 5-gallon water bottle, a cot and rented electrical equipment,” said High Desert Homeless Services President Christie Martin. ”They also broke the door and the door handle, which will both now have to be replaced.”
Volunteers expressed sadness believing that the suspect(s), based on the items stolen, may have been people who stay at the warming shelter during open nights. “It is like they knew where everything was kept,” said one volunteer. The volunteers, still hoping that the suspicions are wrong, are left to wonder who would break into a place that welcomes the local homeless inside for a meal, to watch some television, and offers them a warm place to sleep. “Now we are left to repair and replace things to keep everything going in order to serve our clients,” said Martin. “This is not just the cost of labor, but replacement cost also.” A report was made and evidence was collected, but at this time there are no suspects in custody. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Victorville Police Department at 760-241-2911. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call 800-78-CRIME or leave tips at www.wetip.com.
Donations of water, cup o soups, hot cocoa, sugar, creamer, instant oatmeal, foam cups, foam bowls, plastic spoons, paper towels, twin size or larger blankets, socks, beanies, and gloves are always needed. Item donations can be taken to the warming shelter on nights when AccuWeather temperatures are 40 degrees or below. The warming shelter is located on Desert Knolls Drive and Loves Lane at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds. They can also be taken to High Desert Homeless Services or the Victor Valley Rescue Mission, as long as the donor specifies that the donation is for the warming shelter. The Victor Valley Rescue Mission is located at 15572 7th St, Victorville, CA 92395 and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The High Desert Homeless Services is located at 14049 Amargosa Road Victorville, CA 92392.
Cash donations are also needed and accepted on the “Donate Now” link on the Facebook Page or by sending a check or money order with the memo reading “warming shelter” to High Desert Homeless Services.
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