Well In The Desert Stays Open; City Warns Rights Have Been Revoked

Nico Payne

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Well in the Desert is continuing its operations for those in need in Palm Springs, even after the city revoked their rights to operate.

The organization was supposed to stop operation by the end of July, but tells NBC Palm Springs they will continue to operate until the promised new location at the old boxing club is open and running.

“The city had said to us we would move when something was ready, so our clients wouldn’t be out in the 123-degree heat,” said Arlen Rosenthal, President of Well in the Desert

Well in the Desert is still up and running in Palm Springs, the city had voted to cut ties with the organization and had told them to stop operating by the end of July.

But a planned partnership with Martha’s Village and Kitchen and a new location at the palm springs boxing club — has yet to come to fruition.

“And Martha’s has ascertained that our understanding was something would be ready, it’s not ready yet. it’s going to be ready very soon, until that time we are not going to give up on serving our clients,” explained Rosenthal.

The city of Palm Springs released a statement warning of escalated enforcement if they continue to operate.

“Well in the Desert does not have any permission to remain open during this time. After learning that they remained open after August 1st, the city sent a reminder that the cup for operations at that location has been revoked. To the extent they remain open, the city will escalate enforcement action consistent with other land-use violations of this nature.”

Rosenthal says she still hasn’t received a memorandum of understanding on the plans of Martha’s Village and Kitchens’s plan of operation.

“They could have had two the city council meet with us, we could have gone over it, this did not have to happen,” added Rosenthal.

Valley residents share with NBC Palm Springs the importance of the services that Well in the Desert provides along with reactions to its possible closing.

“There are many many homeless in the area, this place helps them, it provides for them, and that would be a real hardship on them,” said Richard Otero, Desert Hot Springs Resident.

But also pointing out the increase in homelessness that is being seen valley-wide, sometimes being problematic like bathing in public fountains

“We have someone that goes there and they bathe … and they will not stop the person from bathing and washing their clothes,” said Christin, Palm Springs Resident.

“There was a guy in front of her, clearly a homeless person gesturing madly and screaming at the guy at the counter,” said Elani Austin, Palm Springs Resident.

Rosenthal says to her understanding the boxing club still has to undergo quite a bit of improvement before it is able to open, and says she will stay open to provide services for those who need things like personal mail and medication.

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