VACAVILLE — The City Council should extend a $300,000 loan to the operator of Vacaville’s Opportunity House homeless shelter and forgive about $30,300 in interest, recommends the housing services director for Vacaville.
A 2012 promissory note between the city and shelter operators Vacaville Social Services Corporation provided funds to improve and expand the shelter, Emily Cantu, housing services director, stated in a report for the council’s Tuesday meeting.
The money, combined with funds from Solano County and donations, allowed the expanded shelter to open at its new location in 2012, Cantu said. The social services corporation was to secure a permanent loan, she said, but deed restrictions on the property that require the site continue as a homeless shelter for 55 years mean the corporation can’t use the property as security for a new loan.
The services corporation can’t repay the city loan within the original terms, Cantu stated.
Colleen Erdes, executive director of the shelter, asked for the two-year loan extension in a June letter to Cantu.
“When we originally began construction on the project,” Erdes stated, “we had high hopes, great goals and many things influencing a rapid completion.”
“I learned, well, a lot,” she added.
Things don’t always go as quickly as anticipated, always cost more and “wonderful, well-intended caring volunteers can end up costing you in the long run,” Erdes informed Cantu.
Moreover, banks quickly, and frankly appropriately, identified that if the agency defaulted the collateral building couldn’t be used for much else than its intended purpose as a shelter, the executive director said.
Erdes said she is pursuing grants to assist with debt reduction and that Solano County has extended its loan.
“You have my word that I will do whatever it takes to assure payment as soon as possible,” she added.
Erdes said Thursday that an example of volunteers costing money involves a group using material, meant for the bathroom floor and walls, in the hallways. That required paid labor to repair the work, she said.
You don’t anticipate something like, added Erdes, who said she would hate for the volunteers to think she’s not grateful for their efforts.
The council meets at 7 p.m in the chamber at 650 Merchant St. in Vacaville. The loan extension is on the consent calendar as part of routine items.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]