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New Fresno Emergency Winter Shelter Filled to Capacity



Photo of ribbon cutting for the RH Community Builders Winter Warming Shelter
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Thanks to RH Community Builders and other supporters, people who are homeless have a roof over their heads, meals, and guidance to better days ahead.
On Dec. 13, the 77-bed RH Winter Warming Shelter opened at 2445 W. Whitesbridge Ave., in southwest Fresno. Within 96 hours, the shelter reached capacity.

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“Our goal is to transition everyone into what they need. Whether that is addiction treatment, supportive housing, or independent housing.” — Katie Wilbur, executive director of RH Community Builders 
“We have been full every night since then,” RHCB Executive Director Kate Wilbur said Monday after the center’s official ribbon-cutting.

Low-Barrier Shelter Needs Donations, Volunteers

It is a low-barrier shelter, offering accommodations for single individuals, couples, families, and their pets.
The idea, says Wilbur, is to link the homeless to permanent housing solutions while at the shelter.
“Our goal is to transition everyone into what they need,” Wilbur said. “Whether that is addiction treatment, supportive housing, or independent housing. And we’ve been doing that with our staff and volunteers.”
The program continues to need donations and volunteers, Wilbur said.

poster detailing the needs of the RHCB warming shelter


Shelter Is on Former CAP Campus

The story of how the shelter came into operation is an interesting one.
It is on the campus that formerly housed Comprehensive Addiction Programs Inc., which closed in September. After learning that CAP wouldn’t resume operations until sometime in early 2020, RHCB executives Wayne Rutledge and Brad Hardie decided that the facility shouldn’t sit vacant given Fresno’s pressing homelessness challenges.
Rutledge and Hardie are financing the center’s operations. Poverello House provides lunch and dinner daily, and Uncle Harry’s New York Bagelry is donating breakfast.
The nonprofit homeless advocacy group “We Are Not Invisible” is mobilizing volunteers. And, Regency Property Management Group and the Fresno-Madera Continuum of Care are supporting efforts to find permanent housing for those at the shelter.

RHCB’s Landlord Engagement/Mitigation Program

The shelter plans to close at the end of February, but RHCB — a new community group that aims to end homelessness through strategic approaches — will continue its landlord engagement and mitigation program.
Says the RHCB website:
“The landlord engagement and mitigation fund is designed to increase the inventory of housing available to Fresno and Madera County residents whom have historically been difficult to house. RHCB is building relationships with landlords across Fresno and Madera counties to increase their willingness to rent to difficult to house residents.
“Additionally RHCB, utilizing the mitigation fund, provides reassurance to landlords that their investment will not be lost.”
Additional information is available from Wilbur at 559 376-0019 or

Watch: Warming Shelter Ribbon-Cutting

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email