Opportunities with PVSS

Pajaro Valley Shelter Serevices actively seeks community members interested in serving on its Board of Directors. Please see the link at the bottom of our "People" page for more information or contact Executive Director, Kimberly Ferm at (831) 728-5649.

The Shelter Services also seeks college students interested in interning with a nonprofit center dedicated to helping homeless families. Please inquire with a written letter detailing your interest to: PVSS Internship Program, 115 Brennan Street, Watsonville, CA 95076.

Homelessness Affects Many Children

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In March 2011, CBS's 60 Minutes aired a compelling and grievous story on the increase of homeless children in homeless families, titled "Hard times generation: homeless kids".

Pajaro Valley Shelter Services continues to work to end homelessness - one family at a time.

Watch the story here.


Our Mission

To assist homeless women, children and families obtain stable housing through temporary shelter and services.

Our Vision

Pajaro Valley Shelter Services aspires to be a national model program that helps women, children, and families end the causes and cycles of homelessness - one family at a time. By lifting their dignity, identifying their barriers and helping to set their goals, homeless families will develop the skills and attitudes necessary to move on to stable housing and improved personal and economic self-sufficiency.

Our Core Values

We are an authentic and unique organization: We believe we are making a difference, and we are committed to families, to the community, to our mission and one another. We are rooted in and committed to the community of Watsonville and have deep respect for diversity of belief.

We serve and meet universal human needs: We are passionate about our core purpose to end homelessness and are flexible in working with the families we serve. We are efficient in delivering our services, give tender loving care, and provide tough love to move people forward. We give people the needed time to calm down, to learn, to survive, and to change by providing a hand up – not a hand out. We enjoy stability with regard to our staff, our endowment, and our vision.

We utilize effective strategies to fulfill our life-affirming purpose: We implement successful programs, services, and systems to provide emergency and transitional aid. Families are able to attain stability as a result of our services and the educational programs we provide. Our program provides structure, emotional stability, budgeting skills, savings opportunities, and tools to live a healthy life. Our clients build self-esteem, find hope, and increase their power to change their lives.

We organizationally support our purpose and direction: We have an excellent model and tradition of leadership that we desire for PVSS that includes a well-connected community presence, an articulated vision, inspired leadership, and active participation. Our board has diversity of age, industry, and perspectives, and members are supportive of the vision, demonstrate a passion for the work, support the staff, and collaborate as a team. We also have a strong and active advisory board. Our staff is passionate about their work and exhibit low turnover. We support our staff with training opportunities, educational workshops, and flexibility.

We align and connect our resources with our identity and purpose: We have a strong, long-term, and faithful donor base. We take advantage of opportunities as they arise to raise money and apply for grants. Our funding sources are diverse and include reserves, an endowment, and real estate assets that are effectively managed. We support and maintain our essential assets through investment in a structured maintenance program.

Our methods: teaching Care of Self, Family, Finances and Housing

We reach out to others with our identity and life-affirming purpose in ways that support our direction, increase our energy, and celebrate our uniqueness: We have a clear description of our program services from in-take to exit. We are proud of our accomplishments and celebrate our successes. We have created a great working environment and have an attractive and informative newsletter and website.

PVShelter Housing

Case Management and Bilingual Case Management

The majority of our clients are Latino/Hispanic (approximately 80-90%) and many do not speak English. Most resident families can be classified as "severely poor," defined as those families whose income is less than one-half the federal poverty threshold. Case management, and especially bilingual case management, is the key to helping families break a cycle of homelessness. Whether clients are in the Emergency Shelter or Transitional Housing Program, we help each family identify what led to their being homeless, connect them to services and resources in the community and develop strategies to stabilize their lives and start on a path to economic and personal self-sufficiency.

Partnering with client families in understanding and removing the barriers to stability demands intense interaction with them and celebration of each step along the way. Pajaro Valley Shelter Services has created a team of staff that interacts with the client families and helps them focus on setting and achieving goals around the skills that, we have seen over the years, most affect their success. These skills are thematically classified as: 1) Care of Self, 2) Care of Family, 3) Care of Finances, and 4) Care of Housing.

PVShelter Housing

Emergency Shelter for Homeless Women and Children

The Emergency Shelter is open 24 hours a day and families may reside in the Shelter for a maximum of three months. The Shelter's current capacity is thirty women and children who are generally referred to PV Shelter Services by other social service agencies, schools, civic and/or religious organizations. There are occasionally density issues, and currently there is no capacity in the shelter for women with older male children (age is limited to twelve years old).

PV Shelter Services is a collaborator with several community agencies to provide coordinated case management support. Shelter residents sign a contract to abide by strict program requirements. Working with their case manager, residents develop written individual life plans to find jobs, housing, immigration assistance, counseling, education, language programs, parenting and budgeting skills and how to access community resources.

Each family is expected to save a substantial portion of their income from any source as well as establish at least five self-sufficiency goals. As a result of this "tough love" approach, approximately 75% of Shelter families move to stable housing, 50% have savings upon their departure and 55% have met at least three of the five "self-sufficiency goals."

PVShelter Housing

Transitional Housing and Long Term Support Housing for Homeless Families

The Transitional Housing Program consists of fifteen housing units for homeless families. The maximum allowable stay in the Transitional Housing Program is 24 months which provides time for families to stabilize and also enables many homeless families to be helped over time.

During their residency in the Transitional Housing Program, previously homeless families receive intensive case management as well as training in areas such as budgeting, job and parenting skills and methods to find and keep stable housing. Similar to the Emergency Shelter Program, there is a "tough love" strategy in place.

Transitional Housing Program families also sign a contract to abide by strict program requirements. Each family member over the age of 18 develops a written individual life plan with their case manager. Residents are required to set goals and save money. Non-compliance with program requirements can result in termination of the program contract. To date, PV Shelter Services is proud to say that 85-90% of the families in this program find stable housing again and numerous families have even become homeowners.

In 2009, PV Shelter Services began a Longer Term Supportive Housing Program with four housing units. This program provides housing, and support services as needed, to families who are making progress toward stability but need more time to build their resources and skills. Residents in these units are supported with Section 8 funding which permits PV Shelter Services to charge market rent.