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How you can help homeless
Volunteers needed to get homeless off streets
The homeless with their belongings in Wilson Park behind the Post Office along Center Street on Wednesday afternoon. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Help is needed in order to allow the committee that has formed to tackle Manteca’s existing homeless issue do its job effectively.
But instead of money, clothing and food, the items being sought by the panel organized by Manteca Police Department Community Resource Officer Mike Kelly is very specific.
On Tuesday Kelly gathered at the offices of Love INC., a faith-based Manteca non-profit that has taken an active role in the community organization of resources, to talk about the things that the facilitators in the assistance network need to do everything from providing housing and shelter to those who need it to transporting those with drug and alcohol treatment issues to rehabilitation centers.
And it’s the in-kind donations that are proving to be the most necessary.
Mary Castro, who has been organizing outreach and facilitation for those on the street that need rehabilitation services for substance abuse issues, said that the biggest challenge for her has been finding men that are willing to transport homeless men to either detox facilities or rehab centers so that they take the first step in creating a new life away from the street.
And Castro isn’t alone in needing some of the most basic – yet important – forms of assistance from the community.
Michelle Whitaker, who works in conjunction with the HOPE Family Shelters and helps organize the housing outreach arm of the community coalition, said that while temporary options are abundant for people looking to get off the street, the biggest hurdle for those that she has helped is finding people who are willing to rent to the homeless – even those who are gainfully employed and have the money saved up for the necessary deposits.
“While it’s rare, we do have people that are homeless that have saved up the money needed to for deposits but because of the size of their family or their credit nobody will rent to them,” she said, asking the public for leads to renters who would be willing to relax some of the stiff requirements to shelter those that are vouched for by the respected non-profit she represents. “We have people who are being told to lie about the number of children they have to find a place to live, and when you run an organization that’s based on truth, that’s not something that we want to do.
“And because of this, even the people who have money saved up end up going through it living in motels because they have nowhere else to go.”
The community is also being tapped to provide the contents necessary to give those who utilize the Manteca mobile showers – a service being provided by Inner City Action every Monday at various local churches and businesses on a rotating business – hygiene kits that include items like wash cloths, bars of soap, personal sized shampoo, disposable razors, Chapstick, combs, toothpaste and toothbrushes and small bags with Q-Tips, Band-Aids and aspirin. Socks are also requested, and those items should be able to fit into a quart sized Ziploc bag.
Those looking to donate, or to be of service to the cooperative effort, are encouraged to contact Kelly at 209.595.9779.
The next community shower event will be held on Monday, April 24 at 1 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, located at 910 E. North Street. Those toiletry items can be brought down during the event, and organizers will be present to talk with those who want to assist further.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.