CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Community Through Hope, a charity based in Chula Vista, suspended several of its services Tuesday citing financial difficulties. “We, unfortunately, have been unsuccessful at being able to raise the kind of dollars that are needed,” said CEO Rosy Vasquez.
Effective immediately, the charity's shower program has been halted, along with its snack "grab and go" bags and hot meal nutrition program. “The need grew exponentially since March for us,” Vasquez said. She believes several things factored into the growing need – including the City of San Diego's camping ban pushing people to the South Bay and rising costs forcing others out of their homes. The result is that her organization has been swamped by those needing assistance, draining their financial reserves. “We usually provide 500 meals a week. We've gone through that by Tuesday afternoon.”
Community Through Hope runs what's called a zero-barrier program, meaning people can get help without agreeing to accept other services. Because of that, the charity isn't eligible to receive money from several city, state, and federal programs. But Vasquez fears many of her clients would be dead today if she put up those barriers. “We are not going to give up,” she said. “We really do believe if folks stop and look at our work and value the work, that we will get the support that we need.”
Chula Vista Mayor John McCann says his community still has several options for help. “They can go to the Salvation Army,” he said. “They can go to different facilities in the city of Chula Vista. Mayor McCann says Chula Vista is a leader in getting homeless people off the streets, but the city's shelter, which opened in May is currently less than a third full.
“We're still waiting for some supply chain issues to happen and then we're going to fully ramp up after the facility is fully built,” McCann said, adding that those supply chain issues center around the bathrooms. He had no timeline for when they might be resolved.
As for Community Through Hope, they will continue to offer P.O. Box services so people without a home can still get their mail and their street medicine program, which supplies first aid to the area's unsheltered residents.
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