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A Win-Win for Homeless, Endangered Species

Mentone House

The San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District has entered into an agreement with Steps 4 Life to provide transitional housing in this Mentone home in exchange for establishing a homeless policy for the district and training for its employees.

Homelessness in the Upper Santa Ana Wash area and at district headquarters increasingly impedes the ability of SBVWCD employees to do their job and to protect endangered species.

So, this year, the district took a new approach to dealing with area homelessness and created a partnership with the Redlands-based nonprofit Steps 4 Life Community Services to provide them with housing. In exchange, the nonprofit will help the district establish a homeless policy and employee training program.

Steps 4 Life has a successful track record of providing transitional supportive housing in the Redlands area. Its goal is to make a difference in improviing the self-sufficiency of its clients, and to reduce the recidivism that homelessness often presents to veterans, suvivors of domestic violence, individuals in recovery, single parents and individuals with mental health issues. 

The four-bedroom house provided through the agreement is located next to the district’s field office. Residents there will be able to take advantage of opportunities to work in the wash as part of their transitional programming. That means if the district needs to hire someone to do something, it will have a pool of skilled workers right next door. That makes it a win-win for everyone.