News - February 2, 2011

Homeless shelter to close on VA campus in Menlo By Sue Dremann

Clara-Mateo Alliance, a shelter for homeless families and single adults, located on the campus of the VA Medical Center in Menlo Park, will be phased out over three months and will close April 30, its parent organization InnVision announced Jan. 26.

The decision came after several months of analysis, according to a statement released by the InnVision board of directors and CEO. The shelter has been in jeopardy for some time.

In 2006, the Palo Alto VA Healthcare System told InnVision the shelter would be evicted from the Menlo Park campus in 2010 because the building is seismically unstable and the VA planned to add sports fields and recreational facilities for its veterans.

Clara-Mateo Alliance has 70 beds and approximately 67 percent of its single residents are veterans. It was opened in 1999 on the grounds of the VA Medical Center on Willow Road.

It is also home to the Elsa Segovia Center, which provides resources for self-sufficiency for women, children and families. Programs include children's educational and extra-curricular activities, adult education, food boxes and other supportive services.

In 2008, reduced funding threatened to close the shelter due to a decrease in donations.

CEO Christine Burroughs said at the time that the shelter would probably be closed because of the high cost of real estate. Some municipalities also have zoning restrictions on where shelters can be placed.

Clara-Mateo Alliance merged with InnVision in 2004. InnVision says it is Silicon Valley's largest nonprofit provider of housing and services to homeless and at-risk families and individuals and serves more than 27,000 homeless and severely at-risk people annually from San Jose to Redwood City.

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of the Clara-Mateo Alliance in Menlo Park," said InnVision President and CEO Christine Burroughs in a statement. "Every effort was made to keep CMA open."

"Unfortunately, due to numerous factors including a difficult economy, we feel that the closure of CMA will allow us to focus our resources toward the continuation of our other programs throughout Silicon Valley and the Peninsula," she said.

Ms. Burroughs said InnVision is committed to placing current residents in other InnVision programs or in facilities run by other nonprofit service providers. She thanked InnVision's donors for their support during a difficult time.

"If conditions allow, we hope to re-open this shelter in the future at a different location," she said.


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