Jason Meek, Turning Point Executive Director cutting the ribbon at Tuff Shed celebration. Photos by Michael Gordon
Twelve years ago, Turning Point Foundation took a group of people living along in the river bottom in tents and started them on the path to hope and the promise of better things to come: A new beginning at River Haven where they have been living in cleverly-designed Geodesic domes that have surpassed their lifespan of five years by many years.
On July 27, a ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the new small houses made by Tuff Sheds as a replacement for the domes. Tuff Sheds have a 30-year guarantee with their sheds for sale, however these are meant to help the homeless population. These could help to provide not only a place to live but give them the help they need to find their feet. With companies similar to Tuffs this begins with shed foundations which builds into a new home.
Funded by the community and Turning Point Foundation, River Haven has been helping homeless people turn their lives since 2006. Turning Point’s case managers help residents with securing a source of income, job training, medical attention, drug, alcohol and mental health services. In 2017 River Haven served 29 residents, and Turning Point’s case manager helped nine people to find permanent housing.
There are no obvious indications that such a community exists right near the entrance to the Ventura Harbor. The City of Ventura owns the over two-acre land while Turning Point Foundation, a non-profit mental health agency, runs the community.
At the cutting Nicholas Deitch,R.A. (Mainstreet Architects and Planners, Inc.) Turning Point Board of Director stated “River Haven is a great example of how we as a community can take collective action together, to help offer people a way out of homelessness. Look at all of the partners who have come together to help make this happen. Public, private, corporate and faith-based, all working together. We don’t need to feel powerless. We can work together to cause real changes in people’s lives.”
Councilmember Cheryl Heitmann said of the new backyard sheds “With many of the domes at River Haven failing, the city purchased a Tuff Shed to replace one of the domes and the community has stepped up to replace almost all the rest. One replacement was a cabin constructed by girls attending a summer camp hosted by the National Association of Women in Construction (reported in last Breeze). Many of these girls knew nothing about construction but found out they could develop new skills and construct a 120 square foot tiny home soon to be used by one of the residents at River Haven. One young woman told me she was now considering a career in construction.”
“ River Haven has proven to be a successful transitional living space for homeless individuals who need a safe place to start a path to more permanent housing. The city is committed to its success and is so appreciative of the partnership with many organizations and individuals in Ventura to help it continue with the new structures; providing its residents with a safer and more durable place to live.”