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Will ‘tax’ at closing really go to address homeless housing in Manteca, Turlock & points between?
Dennis Wyatt

If you buy a home in California — or make any real estate transaction for that matter — you will pay at least $75 as part of escrow for an affordable housing fee put in place by the California Legislature.

Between existing and new home sales Manteca averages close to 2,000 escrow closings a year. That translates into $150,000 a year before adding commercial and other transactions. And there are provisions in the Affordable Housing Bill that could take the fee paid up to $225 depending upon how escrow is structured.

Given a typical one bedroom, one bathroom apartment unit costs an average of $200,000 plus to build in the Northern San Joaquin Valley today it is clear the fee being collect will ultimately have zero effect at creating affordable housing in the valley while making housing less affordable for buyers.

The legislature — to make it look like they are doing something and to placate everyone else outside of Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and Sacramento that will hog the annual fee gravy train  that could run as high as $400 million to $700 million a year — tossed out some one-time crumbs this year.

Those communities that declare a shelter emergency will make non-profits within their jurisdiction eligible to apply for one-time money before Thanksgiving to fund programs aimed at helping homeless.

It would have been nice to have the money returned to the communities where they are collected to help address homeless issues statewide instead of just going to LA and San Francisco.

In Manteca, $150,000 is just under half of what the HOPE Family Shelters uses to help get families off the street and on track for being able to keep a roof over their heads. Last year, HOPE Family Shelters served 288 homeless people, mostly children, by providing them with in minimum of two months in a shelter awhile working with them to secure their own places. The success rate for 2017 for HOPE clients finding permanent housing hit 44 percent in 2017. Typically with shelters in California the success rate at finding permanent housing is 15 percent.

Well over 80 percent of HOPE Family Shelters $365,000 annual budget to operate three shelters comes from churches, individuals, businesses, and organizations.

Imagine how much more shelter space HOPE Family could secure to house the homeless and working with them if they had $150,000 a year to go toward acquiring appropriate space and remodeling it.

Keep in mind the HOPE Family Shelters clientele are not restricted to Manteca residents with many coming from Lathrop, Stockton, Tracy, and even Ripon.

Turlock has its own homeless shelter that serves single adults. Again, if they had a steady stream of income they could expand their ability to house the homeless and help them get on the path to secure housing on their own.

That will not happen — at least from the $75 fee home buyers fork over at escrow. All of that money after the one-time finds are distributed will be sucked up by Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It’s a solid bet that well in excess of $1.5 million that Manteca home buyers will be paid in affordable housing taxes over the next decade will have zero impact on the homeless situation in Manteca and Turlock as Los Angeles et al snort up the available tax dollars.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email