The Compass Station opens as a new resource center for San Diego's unsheltered
God’s Garage in Pacific Beach has transcended into The Compass Station, a resource center for the unhoused offering numerous services under one roof.
The new all-purpose center, a collaboration between nonprofit Shoreline Community Services and two Pacific Beach churches – Christ Lutheran Church, and St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea – was officially dedicated with live music, a cake cutting, and an open house at 1004 Chalcedony St. on April 27.
With the accompaniment of a bluegrass band recruited to play that day, SCS executive director Caryn Blanton outlined the new center’s mission.
“It is a new season for Shoreline,” noted Blanton. “One of our social media hashtags is ‘harnessing the power of community relationships.’ We’re growing, adapting to the expansion of our programming. We cannot do it without [the public]. We’re all in this together. And together, we can make changes that are needed in our neighborhood.”
Blanton pointed out the creation of a new hands-on service center for the unsheltered has evolved from initially providing meals at local churches, then connecting guests with other wrap-around services. The Compass Station, added Blanton, is also a way to personalize the services offered.
“We’re learning the names, and stories, of our guests, finding out what they need, and building trust and relationships,” she said adding “connecting them to the appropriate services has been rewarding.”
Shoreline has a volunteer outreach team that goes out into the community in a van to “meet people where they are and to create relationships on the street and positive outcomes,” noted Blanton adding, “This confirmed what we have known for some time: Our community needs a physical space where people can come to meet with community partners and get the resources and services they need to get off the street and work toward self-sufficiency.”
“I was homeless for a little over six years and I worked with Caryn as one of her team leaders on the Street Guardians (homeless clean-up crews),” said Eric Gaylord, who has successfully transitioned out of homelessness with SCS’s help. “[Compass Station] is a good thing, and I’m really grateful.”
“This is a great day,” said David Nagler, president/CEO of Christ Lutheran Church pointing out the former God’s Garage site was originally “a youth building where Boy Scouts met and did paper drives here for 40 years. And then it just became a space where people got their lives back together by getting sober. Now it’s going to be both.”
Nagler noted that 12 Steps Alcoholics Anonymous programs will continue to be held in the mornings and evenings with homeless services sandwiched in-between at The Compass Station adding, “It’s going to be available for everyone.”
County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer presented Blanton and SCS with a proclamation honoring the new humanitarian one-stop center. “This is just an extraordinary achievement and moment for our community,” she said noting she went to La Jolla High and learned how to surf at Law Street in PB. Pointing out that homelessness has become more problematic in recent years, Lawson-Remer said: “It’s all our problem, and we need to be part of the solution. I’ve been told by the unhoused in our beach communities that they previously had to go downtown to get services. The County has finally stepped up and taken leadership, having founded a Department of Homeless Solutions. From my perspective, what you’re doing is cutting-edge. It’s leading the fight.”
Mother Mary Lynn Coulson, the rector at St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea Church, concluded the grand opening of The Compass Station with a blessing. “We’re dedicating this space, which has been a center for spiritual growth and healing for many years,” she said. “Know that it will continue to be that in an evolving way. Just this moment, right now, is a blessing.”
Services provided at The Compass Station, a drop-in resource center for unhoused neighbors to get connected, cared for, and supported:
Laundry and showers
Benefit enrollment assistance
Computers to look/apply for work
Connection to mental health/substance use services
Veteran’s services, and
The center at 1004 Chalcedony St. is open weekdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Compass Station is a program run by Shoreline Community Services and donations can be made at shorelinecs.org.