The future direction of Manteca’s efforts to address homeless issues is now up to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Assembly Bill 1732 authored by Assemblyman Heath Flora, R-Ripon, breezed through the State Senate Monday and has been sent to the governor.
If Newsom signs it, the City of Manteca will be able to conditionally sell the former Qualex photo processing building at 555 Industrial Park Drive to the non-profit Inner City Action for as little as $1 for the restricted use of the 57,329-square foot structure as a homeless resource center. That would prohibit its use as a homeless shelter. It also means if it ever stopped being a homeless resource center that the building would be placed up for auction with proceeds split between 10 local taxing agencies with Manteca Unified receiving 50 percent.
The state had ordered the auction of all surplus redevelopment agency property in the state after RDAs were dissolved to divert property tax back to schools to replace state funding lost during the Great Recession.
There has only been one other legislative exception to the state directive to auction off surplus RDA property. That exception allowed property that had been bought by the Sacramento RDA to be used for a homeless shelter.
If Newsom — who has made addressing homeless issues one of his key goals — signs the bill and it becomes law, the next step is the city issuing a conditional use permit for a homeless resource center to be established in an industrial area where it is not allowed by right under the zoning code.
Inner City Action submitted a request for a conditional use permit in late April. The process, that takes about six months to complete, includes public hearings. That means a final decision on a use permit could be made by November.
Inner City, in working with the Manteca Police Department and non-profit agencies over the past 34 months has helped get more than 280 people off the streets of Manteca. Some are reunited with families often thousands of miles away willing to take them back in. Others are helped addressing issues and obtain job training and develop work ethic so that they can secure housing on their own.
Inner City works with employers that have been pleased with the non-profit’s track record of providing solid workers. Inner City will transport the former homeless when they are in transition to jobs and will use donated items to help them set up households when they are in a position once again to pay their own rent. One aspect of the Qualex building’s use will be to store and distribute donations as well as to develop work skills.
The homeless who are ready to get off the streets in Manteca and are accepted into the Inner City program are housed at an Inner City complex in South Stockton. That will continue to be the case once the Qualex site is up and running.
Inner City plans to sell holdings in McFarland to cover the cost of getting the building up to code, including a new roof.
Jason Laughlin, Flora’s field representative, has noted legislative members were all aware that the Qualex structure would not be used as a homeless shelter. Laughlin relayed that a number of members said they were impressed that Manteca was taking an innovative approach to reducing the homeless on city streets.
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