VISTA, Calif. — A North County homeless agency has decided to temporarily close its family shelter rather than accept federal funding that would force it to house drug addicts in the facility.
Solutions for Change has a shelter and a large housing complex that have helped homeless families in the North County for the last 16 years.
Federal grants and other contributions have helped keep its doors open. But three months ago, the federal government mandated that all homeless agencies must take in drug addicts or forfeit the funding. Solutions for Change has decided to return the money instead of housing addicts alongside families with young children.
“Our government is saying to our parents, they don’t have a choice anymore and they have to live next to people who are active heroin users, meth users and other drug addicts. They’re saying if we don’t agree, we lose the money,” said Chris Megison, President & CEO of Solutions for Change.
Megison says they’ve already returned $100,000 and plan on giving back another $600,000 soon.
The agency says the money makes up about 9 percent of its operating budget and until they can make it up somewhere else, they will have to shut down their homeless shelter where families are first housed and introduced to job and life skills training.