TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) --Since Lighthouse Rescue Mission started, it has had the goal of providing shelter to both homeless women and men. Now it appears that hope will soon be a reality.
Recently, Tulare city officials approved a conditional use permit for Lighthouse to build a two story, 15,000 square-foot facility on South H Street, with the capacity to house 32 homeless men and women. That's in addition to the women's shelter and family center they already operate.
The new facility will also have a large kitchen, laundry and shower facilities, and offices so caseworkers can meet with clients on site.
"It's a good thing to have such a need but we want to address the issue here in Tulare and not keep sending people to Visalia," said Lighthouse's Executive Director Louis Sparks.
The largest homeless shelter in Tulare County, Visalia Rescue Mission, can house 80 people nightly.
But Sparks says there is a need in Tulare, because he believes the city's homeless population is even higher than the official count would indicate.
In Spark's eyes, the mission will be able to serve anyone who doesn't know where they will sleep or eat next, or wonders if they will be beat up while living on the streets.
"Those are the three things that really constitute the biggest struggle and if we can provide a place for them to stay then we can address perhaps the issues that got them there in the first place," Sparks said.
Sparks says the hope is to break ground by this time next year. They've already started raising money and applying for grants, and are counting on generous community members to fill in the gaps.
Tulare's interim city manager also says the city is working to develop a homeless task force.