leaders approve 24/7 homeless shelter
By BEVERLY BARELA
January 31, 2019
The Merced County Board of Supervisors
unanimously approved a contract this week with the Community
Action Agency so that the D Street homeless shelter in South
Merced could be opened 24/7 as part of a one-year pilot
Navigational Center program.
The D Street shelter currently operates nightly with a 50-bed
capacity. The supervisors amended the proposed initial contract
to expand the beds to 60 at an additional cost of $48,000.
At a meeting Tuesday, the supervisors discussed the current
environment for the homeless, and the need to make a change
in hopes of accomplishing the real solution for homelessness,
which they say is housing.
Homelessness is a very complex issue. By the time people
become homeless, they face a lot of challenges and need
a lot of supportive services.
Currently, homeless people are getting their basic needs
met for a shower, a bed and a meal at the shelter. They
have the option to be housed at night at the shelter, but
at 7 a.m., they become homeless again until that night.
The transition from homeless is not occurring presently
because a lot of the people who are homeless do not like
rules at all.
The new concept is to think of the shelter as a “navigation
center” because it is hoped that with 24/7 services
available, it will be possible to encourage the next step,
which is the transition from homelessness to being housed.
“What we’re trying to do is lower barriers to
entry, and house some people who are difficult to house,”
said John Ceccoli, a management analyst for the county.
“We’re trying to navigate them out of the homeless
Ceccoli explained, “Instead of the shelter being run
on a first come, first served basis, with the new concept,
the homeless will get a needs assessment. They will have
a Community Action Agency case manager at the D Street shelter
to accomplish their individualized housing plan.”
He continued, “The homeless individual, the referring
agency and the Community Action Agency case manager will
work together on the housing plan, which may involve services
through HSA, Behavioral Health, Turning Point, Veterans
Services or it could be about reconnecting with family members.”
The pilot program will be monitored by the Homeless Management
Supervisor Lloyd Pareira was enthusiastic about the pilot
“It will get them more prepared to be in a place like
the city’s project,” he said. “The County
of Merced is short on housing, but one step that is currently
ongoing for the purpose of creating new housing is the City
of Merced has a developer, and it’s working on affordable
housing and permanent supportive housing project for anyone
Cal Fire’s Rahn promoted
During the board meeting, Mike van Loben Sels, acting deputy
chief of Cal Fire’s Madera/Mariposa/Merced Unit, announced
that Jeremy Rahn has been promoted to division chief of
the Merced Division of that unit, replacing Chief Lawson,
In 1991, Rahn began his career as a paid call firefighter
with the Merced County Fire Department and was hired by
the Atwater City Fire Department as a fire apparatus engineer
at the Castle Fire Station in 1995.
In 2000, he became fire captain at Station 1 (now 41).
He was promoted to battalion chief in 2005.
When the City of Atwater contracted with Cal Fire for fire
protection services in 2008, Rahn began his career with
Cal Fire, coming across as a Fire Captain at Atwater Station
In 2012, Rahn transferred to Merced OES as a fire captain
and in 2014, he was promoted to battalion chief in OES.
In 2017, Jeremy transferred to the Los Banos Battalion where
he is currently assigned.
During his career, Rahn has assisted in acquiring grants
benefiting Merced County. He is a member of Cal Fire Incident
Management Team 2 as a public information officer.
Rahn played a key leadership role in the 2017 Winter storms
when there were multiple EOS activations.
After the announcement of his promotion, Rahn said he was
excited to fill in as Merced County division chief.