In 2001, the Safe Harbor Shelter opened as a temporary cold-weather shelter for homeless adults in San Mateo County under the guidance of then-County Supervisor Jerry Hill. A converted warehouse, the facility housed 90 adults every night and met a critical need that, unfortunately, didn’t end with the changing of the seasons. Recognizing this, a local nonprofit called Samaritan House fought for a 50-year lease with the County, successfully keeping the shelter in operation year-round.
But, when HIF staff visited the site last year, they realized the re-purposed building had its woes; inadequate storage, faded signage, worn furniture, and a complicated floorplan made the shelter feel as if it were still just a temporary place for the homeless. HIF developed a grand vision: create a more comfortable space by adding furniture that could easily be stored away when not in use, built-in cabinetry to keep shelter supplies out of sight, and more permanent stations for client amenities, like making coffee and doing laundry. And, the vision extended outside: upgrading the landscaping, adding permanent seating, mounting new signage, and installing more bike storage for the dozens of bikes parked outside every evening was also included in the scope.
Led by the passionate team from IBI Construction with design support from DEVCON Construction, the project took shape. Three-time Corporate Champion Wells Fargo stepped up again, providing ten volunteers on a windy Wednesday in July to tackle the work alongside the project’s other generous contributors: Aquatek Plumbing, A Touch of Stone, Bedrosians Tile & Stone, BellaVista Landscape Services, Daniel Gaines Photography, Dunn Edwards Paints, IBI Construction, PierceSigns & Displays, and Varsity Painting.