The Police Department's Patrol Task Force is a team of officers dedicated addressing homelessness and the illegal activities that are often associated. This team does an excellent job engaging in street outreach and offering services to individuals in need. In 2023, the number of officers on the Patrol Task Force has increased and the Police Department remains committed to working with residents, business owners, partner organizations, and other law enforcement agencies to keep City streets safe.
The Community Development Housing Services team, in partnership with the Patrol Task Force, is working to reduce the number of encampments, the number people experiencing homelessness, and overall vagrancy throughout the City.
Housing Services has also partnered with Ventura County and the cities of Oxnard and Thousand Oaks to create a comprehensive and strategic homelessness plan which will allow us to identify gaps in the current system and ensure that we are funding the necessary programs and services that make a noticeable impact. The City currently funds several initiatives to combat homelessness, including having social workers through the Ventura County Human Services Agency and Downtown Ventura Partners who regularly provide people in need with resources and services.
The City and County of Ventura also fund a year-round, low-barrier shelter that can house 55 people. At this shelter, operated by Mercy House and often referred to as The ARCH, homeless individuals can receive case management, and assistance with behavioral health, physical health, and substance abuse issues.
Ventura does need additional emergency and transitional shelter beds if we want to see a significant decrease in people experiencing homelessness. In March 2023, the Housing Services Division applied for the Encampment Resolution Funding, which will allow the City to increase the number of emergency and transitional shelter beds while ensuring that individuals experiencing homelessness are provided with necessary assistance and resources to transition into permanent housing.