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Put homeless to work to clean up city; Singh, Patti meet & greets
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The story in Friday’s Bulletin headlined “Homeless Headway” about the first 30 days of a Manteca Police community resource officer being dedicated to working the streets to help the homeless that want help and to address those among their ranks that want to play by their own rules even if it means flagrant violations of the law, prompted six readers to send emails lauding the department and specifically officer Mike Kelly.

In his first 30 days Kelly has reunited three homeless individuals with their families, placed six in alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs, and found shelter for seven others including a family with two children that had been sleeping in their car.

Terri Nord wanted to commend Kelly “for his efforts in helping the homeless. He’s doing a great job. Maybe Stockton will get a clue.”

 D. Choate went a step further and provided a link a Washington Post story on the effort of the mayor of Albuquerque in New Mexico to tackle the homeless problems in his city.

Mayor Richard Berry in numerous on the street chats with the homeless was told by them they didn’t want to panhandle but knew of no other way to get month.

That gave Berry the idea of the city bringing work to the homeless.

Next month is the first anniversary of that city’s “There’s a Better Way” program. The Post reports that the program hires panhandlers for day jobs beautifying the city. In partnership with a local nonprofit that serves the homeless population, a van is dispatched around the city to pick up panhandlers who are interested in working. The job pays $9 an hour, which is above minimum wage (in Arizona), and provides a lunch. At the end of the shift, the participants are offered overnight shelter as needed.”

In 11 months the effort has collected 69,601 pounds of weeds and litter from 196 city blocks. It has provided 932 days of work for various homeless individuals. Participation in There’s a Better Way has also managed to connect more than 100 homeless individuals with permanent jobs.

The standard response in California is typically liability concerns but if that’s the case why individuals are ordered by the courts to perform community service or those who volunteer to clean-up along highways not a liability problem?

The New Mexico program uses a van with advertising wrap reading “Help End Panhandling, There’s a Better Way! Call 311” to pick up homeless workers and take them to job sites.

Just like Kelly has encountered in Manteca, the homeless who hop on the van to work aren’t aware of many of the available services designed to help them get off the street. They also have the same major impediments as many homeless do in Manteca and elsewhere — the lack of essential Social Security cards and other required identification to secure jobs or even able to board a bus to travel to relatives willing to welcome them into their homes.

The New Mexico program operates two days a week. Due to its success, the city is planning to increase funding t run it four days a week.

An average of 10 homeless work on teach of the two days the program is now in operations.

Personnel that run the program say that when the van fills up mother homeless beg them to get a spot the next time.


Mark Sept. 8 on your

calendar for Singh &

Patti recpeitons

You’ll have two chances to talk with individuals that want to serve as your elected representatives for the next four years on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Manteca City Council hopeful Gary Singh and San Joaquin County Supervisor candidate Tom Patti are both hosting receptions that day but at different venues.

These are not fundraising affairs. Instead they are free events tailored to give voters a chance to meet the candidates, ask questions, and enjoy free food as well.

Singh’s meet and greet is Sept. 8 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Emory Hall, 1028 W. Yosemite Ave. The food is being catered by Taquerias La Estrella.

Singh has already secured the endorsements of the Manteca Police Officers Association, Lathrop Manteca Firefighters Association, Carpenters Union, and San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore.

Patti’s event is being dubbed “Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & Tom Patti: All-American Campaign Kickoff” is Sept. 8 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Founts residence, 13551 S. Union Road in rural Manteca one mile north of Lathrop Road.

Although the reception is open to the general public and is free, they’d appreciate and RSVP to Kimm at 209.948.1724 so they can have ample food on hand.

Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen is the special guest for the event featuring food, entertainment, and a raffle.

It reception is being hosted by River Islands at Lathrop Development and is sponsored by Andrew Sephos and Toni Raymus as well as George Gibson.

Serving on the host committee are Mick and Kristin Founts, Jack Snyder, Vince Hernandez, Willie Weatherford, Dennis Williams, Naresh Davit, Karl Knutsen, and Don Moyer.

The supervisor seat Patti — who owns a crane company based in Stockton — is seeking includes all of Lathrop and Manteca north of Yosemite Avenue.

It also includes most of rural San Joaquin County that’s in the Delta west of Stockton as well as northwest Stockton.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email