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Giving shelter new hope
RDA spending $159K on rehab plans
The HOPE Family Shelter at 528 W. Yosemite Ave. received a $159,750 loan from the RDA to develop working drawings to renovate the building. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• YOU CAN HELP: For information on volunteer opportunities and the type of donations the shelters need, call HOPE Ministries at 824-0658.

Manteca’s most effective tool to help homeless families - the HOPE Shelter in the 500 block of West Yosemite - is getting help with a potential rehabilitation project through the redevelopment agency.

The City Council Tuesday sitting as the redevelopment board agreed to loan HOPE Ministries $159,750 so necessary working plans can be developed to restore the building that opened in 1917at the height of the Great Flu Epidemic as Manteca’s first hospital.

The non-profit purchased the building and opened it in 1993 as a family shelter just on the western edge of downtown.

The construction plans will allow the building to be brought up to a safe and acceptable condition. City Manager Steve Pinkerton noted in a memo to the council that “the building has never been extensively renovated and all systems in the building are in need of major renovation.”

HOPE Ministries Executive Director Dave Thompson noted the 90-year-old plus has numerous issues including wiring.

“On days it was 110 degrees it was impossible to turn on the air conditioning,” Thompson said.

Funding for the work - and possibly the actual renovation - is from the state-mandated 20 percent set aside of redevelopment agency funds for low to moderate housing.

If the conditions of the loan are met including the building being used as a homeless shelter for a number of decades, then the loan is forgiven. If that doesn’t happen, the loan becomes due and payable.

HOPE Ministries retired the mortgage for the building in 2008 when they made the final balloon payment of $53,000 thanks to community donations.

HOPE Family Ministries was organized by the Manteca Ministerial Association to provide shelter for homeless families.

HOPE Ministries turned 20 this year. The non-profit organization was born in the middle of the recession that followed the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, the winding down of the aerospace industry, and massive closure of military bases in California. HOPE Ministries now struggles in the midst of the Great Recession to meet a need that has increased proportionately with Manteca’s record post World War II unemployment rate of just fewer than 15 percent.

Since the doors of their first shelter opened in 1992 Hope Shelters have assisted more than 2,000 families get back on their feet.

The shelter’s success rate – people who basically end up being able to provide their own shelter – is just above 60 percent. It is a high rate among shelters. Thompson, who retired from the Manteca police force 10 years ago, credits it to counseling services that are provided.

The counseling services address everything from money management to life choices. Unfortunately, budget considerations may force an elimination of those counseling services in the coming months.

The demand for the three shelters the organization operates has never been higher.

The original shelter opened 19 years ago has eight units for homeless families.

Twenty-five percent of the homeless passings through HOPE Shelters are employed. Some financial event – including foreclosures on rental properties in the current climate – puts them out on the street. They can afford rent but not the deposit.

Others are helped to get back on their feet with assistance in getting a job. Due to the success HOPE has had with helping homeless families get their finances in order, a number of apartment complexes in Manteca have a working relationship with the non-profit and have no problem taking renters who’ve been at HOPE shelter.

To make it work, the shelter tries to provide as much as the basics they can from food and everyday items such as toilet paper and personal hygiene products. They rely heavily on individuals to donate such items.

HOPE Ministries also operates the nine-unit Raymus House on Union Road for single moms and their children as well as seven transitional units where families can stay for two years as they rebuild their lives.

Two families have already moved out of the transitional shelter months ahead of the two-year limit.

Staff and service cutbacks have allowed the shelter to get by with a $160,000 budget - $40,000 less than last year’s amount. HOPE no longer receives state money and is having their federal assistance pared back $$26,000 to $22,000.

The majority of the families helped over the years are from Manteca with almost all the rest coming from the South County although there have been some out-of-state families that were helped.

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