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$13K to improve HOPE Shelter
RDA funds targeted for frontage improvements
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Manteca is taking steps to assure that the community will have a family homeless shelter for at least the next 55 years.

The City Council sitting as the Manteca Redevelopment Agency commission on Tuesday is expected to authorize calling for bids to spend $135,000 for frontage improvements at the HOPE Family Shelter at 528 W. Yosemite Ave. involving upgrades to the storm drain, sanitary system and water system. The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Redevelopment agency funds are covering the cost.

In November Manteca committed a $1,243,440 loan to HOPE Ministries to renovate the family shelter just west of downtown. The loan will be forgiven only if a family shelter is operated for 55 years at the apartment complex where it has been located for more than 18 years.

Since the doors of the shelter opened in 1992 Hope Shelters have assisted more than 2,000 families get back on their feet. HOPE Ministries also operate two other shelters.

The HOPE Shelters’ 60 to 65 percent success rate is attributed to the programs and assistance those staying there get in terms of how to better manage their finances and lives.

The Yosemite Avenue shelter was built in 1917 during the Great Flu Epidemic to serve as the community’s first hospital. After several years it was converted into an apartment complex.

The shelter needs to be brought up to code, have aging or failed systems replaced, to make it safe and to become more energy efficient.

The building has never been extensively renovated. It has seven apartment units with 35 beds.

HOPE Ministries was started 19 years ago. The original family shelter at Yosemite and Sequoia in the original Manteca Hospital building. The Raymus House – a former rest home on South Union Road that the Raymus family rents to HOPE Ministries for $1 a year – accommodates nine single moms and their children. There is also a six unit transitional housing complex near Doctors Hospital where families can stay up to two years and pay 30 percent of their income in rent.

The three shelters served 108 families last year that included 226 children. The shelter doesn’t keep a “waiting list” per se but they do field up to 20 calls a day from people looking for shelter.

HOPE Ministries is getting by with $150,000 although they budgeted $168,000 to operate the three shelters. They cut back on staff and some assistance programs for clients. They also pared back external efforts such as providing emergency food for the needy or helping with part of a month’s rent payment when a family incurs an emergency expense so it can help avoid them from becoming homeless.

The state cut funding back to zero but in an ironic twist the federal government increased some of its funding since San Joaquin County has been hit so hard by foreclosures. As a result, just under $50,000 comes from emergency grants to help the homeless that also includes $7,600 in pass through federal government Community Block Grant funds divided up by the Manteca City Council.

The remaining $100,000 comes from individuals, churches and businesses in Manteca.

For more information or to help with donations of money or items, call 824-0658.