| After months of searching, Mountain View's Day Worker Center is set to move into a new space at the Trinity United Methodist Church at 748 Mercy Street, just half a block from City Hall.
At a press conference in front of the church Tuesday, church leaders were thanked for providing day workers "refuge" with a one-year lease. The center's former lease, at the Calvary Church on California Street and Escuela Avenue, was set to expire this month after five years.
United Methodist Pastor Janette Saavedra said she was excited about hosting the center. A church member named Shelly Kinney had read about the center's situation in the Voice, prompting the church to offer help, she said.
"It gives me much faith that there are people who will reach out to us like this," said Elizabeth Fitting, the president of the Day Worker Center board.
Day workers were facing the possibility of moving into a commercial space smaller than they would have liked -- or soliciting work on the streets. But the new space in the church's fellowship hall is twice as large as the old location at Calvary, and could go a long way towards attracting the region's day workers to its offices.
"It's like a miracle," said Maria Marroquin, the center's director, on Monday. "From one church to another church -- God is in charge, believe me."
At the press conference, Marroquin highlighted the fact that female workers would especially benefit from having a safe place to seek work and attend English classes.
"Now we feel protected," said a day worker named Maria, who spoke through an interpreter. "Now we have a place of refuge."
Another worker, Abel Aguilar, said he knew workers who "prayed this would happen," after hearing about the possibility.
During a tour of the site, day workers and community leaders oohed and aahed over the large space at the back of the church, which includes a kitchen area and an attached room with stained glass windows -- the place where English classes will likely be taught. Marroquin's new office is near the pastor's office, closer to Mercy Street.
Pastor Saavedra said that over the next year the church will decide if the operation is a good fit. The center's board has also told the city that it may need some monetary help as funding sources are expected to dry up over the next few years. City leaders said they would like to see Los Altos and Palo Alto get involved, because it could be argued the center serves those cities as well.
Worker Center board member John Rinaldi joked that now that they're close by, day workers wouldn't have to march as far to rallies in Civic Center Plaza.
Besides connecting employers with employees, the Day Worker Center has built a community of organizers and day workers who take English classes, eat lunch together and volunteer at local events. Several have participated in the city's CERT training classes.
County Supervisor Liz Kniss, who attended Tuesday's press conference, said it was very important for the center to "have the support of the community - which I think you have."
Kniss said the event felt "spiritual," before looking to church members for a reaction.
"You can say that," church members said in response.
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