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Future of WC Homeless Program Is In Doubt

Oct. 30 is last day for Fresh Start of Walnut Creek as now configured; St. Paul's Episcopal Church is reportedly considering running a version of the program.

Fresh Start, a respite and service center for homeless people on Trinity Avenue, has scheduled a final day of operation in October — with the prospect of it closing or continuing with different services and management.

The uncompensated administrative staff — Bill Lunghi and his wife Robin — intend to "re-retire" on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to "enjoy a good measure of rest and relaxation and to spend time with our children and grandchildren," as stated in a letter Fresh Start of Walnut Creek is sending to donors and confirmed by Lunghi Tuesday.

"St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which generously allowed Fresh Start to use its Fellowship House for the past 12 years, is considering attempting to service the poor and homeless at the Fellowship House, subsequent to Fresh Start's departure," Lunghi stated in the letter.

Patch has an email in to St. Paul's officials seeking confirmation of that possibility.

Fresh Start has seen the potential loss of about half of its funding from the KGO Thanksgiving Charities Drive, which may not continue this November, according to the Fresh Start letter.

Fresh Start, completely staffed by volunteers including some homeless people, has been open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, offering a living room atmosphere, showers and laundry, a food pantry, financial support and motel vouchers.

In the recent recession years, Fresh Start found increasing numbers of newly homeless  people falling out of the middle class. It tallied a one-day record by 73 participants helped on Feb. 17, 2011.

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