SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran on Wednesday celebrated a $35 million grant that is expected to bring housing and services under one roof to help the city's homeless population.
"This is huge for San Bernardino! Huge!" Tran said at a news conference. She described the grant as "a testament to our ongoing commitment to address homelessness and provide crucial support to our unhoused population."
The city is partnering with Lutheran Social Services of Southern California to build the San Bernardino Wellness Campus on its property.
The facility will include 140 modular interim housing units along with wraparound health services and social services for the community, officials say.
"This transformative initiative will undoubtedly enhance the quality of life for our residents and strengthen the bonds that make San Bernardino an exceptional place to call home," said Dr. Lasharna Beckwith, CEO of Lutheran Social Services Southern California.
Rep. Pete Aguilar was on hand Wednesday to tour the existing facility, which already includes a 70-bed men's shelter.
The Homekey grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan, which was passed by Congress in 2021.
"We all take the affordable housing crisis and sheltering the unhoused incredibly seriously but at the end of the day we need partners like the cities to help deliver and streamline this on the building side to make sure these projects come to fruition," Aguilar said.
California's homelessness crisis is front-and-center in San Bernardino.
Rex Evans fell victim to homelessness following identity theft. He credits the services he received from Lutheran Social Services for turning things around.
"There's a number of resources that they have here to help you out and so with that I was able to get back on my feet," said Evans.
Romona Jimenez utilized similar resources and is now helping others as a peer support advocate for the organization.
"Homelessness is not the end of your story. It's just a semicolon," said Jimenez.
The Wellness Campus is set to open in 2025.