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Family shelters: Government grants down, need up
HOPE PROMO2-9-1-12
Hope Family Shelter Executive Director Dave Thompson, second from left, and board members hold an auction item for the wine social. - photo by HIME ROMERO

It takes $150,000 a year to provide the basic essentials for HOPE Ministries to operate three family shelters in Manteca.

Five years ago, state and federal grants aimed at helping the homeless accounted for 40 percent of the annual budget. But as the demand has increased due to The Great Recession, available government money has slowly been drying up. Today, less than 20 percent of the money needed comes from state and federal sources.

“That’s why we have added fundraisers,” noted HOPE Shelter Executive Director Dave Thompson.

One such fundraiser is Saturday’s wine tasting at Delicato Vineyards from 6 to 8 p.m. that costs $25 a ticket.

Thompson said while there is a shortage of funds there is no shortage of homeless seeking help

“We have more people asking for help than we can handle,” Thompson said.

HOPE Ministries operates two short-term shelters. The Yosemite Avenue location has eight apartment units for homeless families while there is room for up to 13 single moms and their children at the Raymus House.

In both of the shelters, families stay for a maximum of two months with free rent. Many of their basic needs are provided so they can save money to secure a place of their own. They are also taught how to manage their money. Many of the homeless are actually still working. Either one spouse has lost their job or had hours reduced. Their biggest obstacle to securing a home is coming up with the down payment to rent an apartment or a small house

HOPE has almost a 75 percent success rate. That means that three-quarters of the people they have helped since opening 19 years ago - or about 3,000 of the 4,000 that includes children - have ended up being able to stay in rental housing.

HOPE also operates eight transition units where families live up to two years before going out on their own.

More than 80 percent of the $150,000 needed to run the shelters each year comes from the private sector. Included in that private sector support are monthly contributions from 16 churches.