A community-based group is staging a rally Saturday, July 23, in a bid to build opposition to the City of Manteca spending $16 million plus on a homeless navigation center.
The rally organized by Mantecans4Change takes place at 7 p.m. in front of the Manteca City Hall, 1001 W. Center St.
The group believes if Manteca accepts a $16 million grant the state has approved to build a homeless navigation center on 8 acres of South Main Steet between downtown and the Walmart shopping center along South Main Street that it will end up becoming a “regional” homeless center attracting the those living on the streets frorm other communities.
The city’s proposal is not for a drop-in shelter per se, but rather a secured complex similar to one in Bakersfield where homeless that are willing to be part of an effort to get them off the street and back on their feet are brought to the complex.
In announcing Saturday’s rally, the group contends such a shelter — regardless of how the city operates it — will become a magnet for the homeless who are unable to access similar services in nearby communities.
As such they believe it will:
*Turn Manteca into a homeless dumping ground.
*Place additional burdens on police, fire, and medical services.
*Increase crime in Manteca.
*Devalue home values.
is not a drop-in shelter
The $16 million will fund a facility that is not a drop-in shelter such as St. Mary’s in Stockton where those that can’t secure beds typically set up tents and such on sidewalks near the facility.
Instead, the homeless that commit to working to get off the streets will be transported to the site.
The facility will not accept walk-in homeless per se.
The city’s entrance will be from the east side of the property off of Carnegie Court and away from commercial and residential development.
A homeless shelter per se is not what Manteca needs.
City leaders reached that conclusion after weighing court decisions and what has worked — and hasn’t worked — in other California cities.
Manteca is moving forward with a long-range strategy to address homeless issues that is based on six key conclusions:
*Focusing on law enforcement alone is insufficient.
*Reducing the number of unsheltered homeless will take a multi-pronged approach.
*The needs and the rights of the homeless and the Manteca community overall must be balanced.
*A homeless navigation as opposed to simply a homeless shelter is needed.
*Regional partnerships need to be formed given homeless move around.
*Agreements with Caltrans and the county are needed to make sure all agencies are on the same page.
*The full use of “Laura’s Law” also known as assisted outpatient treatment is needed within the county for sustained and intensive court-ordered outpatient treatment for individuals with mental illness who may be at risk of grave disability, deterioration in life skills and functioning, self-harm, and/or violence towards others.
The assisted out-patient treatment is not an alternative to voluntary treatment. It is a way to get services to those homeless who refuse voluntary treatment working in conjunction with the court system.
Such a program implemented in other counties with local jurisdictions has led to collaboration on getting assistance to those individuals with a mandated focus on the homeless.