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Flora’s bill for Manteca effort for homeless clears committee
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SACRAMENTO — The California Assembly will now decide the fate of AB 1732 sponsored by Assemblyman Heath Flora to allow the City of Manteca to sell the surplus redevelopment agency Qualex property on Industrial Park Drive to Inner City Action for $1 to establish a homeless resource center.

The measure passed its second and final Assembly committee hearing Wednesday — the Housing and Community — by a unanimous vote.

The bill heads to the Assembly floor next. If it passes a series of votes it is then forwarded to the State Senate where the procedure is repeated. If both chambers approve the bill it goes before Gov. Gavin Newsom who has made addressing the state’s homeless problem a top priority.

Flora’s district representative Jason Laughlin noted additional taxing agencies that would get a cut of the proceeds if the Qualex building was sold to the highest bidder under current state law have come out in support of the Manteca effort. Delta College, the latest to join the list of supporting taxing agencies, did so with a unanimous vote.

Laughlin also added that the committee understood that the Qualex building would be used as a resource center and not operate as a homeless shelter.

“Thank you Heath (Flora),” noted Councilwoman Debby Moorhead — who got the ball rolling in a bid to get a legislative remedy to a state law that requires the 57,000-square-foot building at 555 Industrial Park to be sold to the highest bidder and proceeds split between local taxing agencies.

 The Qualex building was bought with $4 million in RDA funds for the expressed intent of converting it into a new police station. The city spent another $1.6 million in RDA funds before deciding state laws requiring even stronger earthquake standards for public safety and staffing requirements for new law enforcement facilities with holding cells needed correction officer staffing the project would no longer pencil out.

When redevelopment agencies were disbanded by Sacramento during the Great Recession as a way to avoid state staffing cuts in order to maintain school support spending, RDA properties not tied to a viable project that were more than a concept at the time the plug was pulled were required under state law to be auctioned.

After being approached by Moorhead who brought the idea before the council to seek a legislative remedy, Flora agreed to do what he could to get the request moving forward during the current legislative session. The Ripon Assemblyman was able to get the bill moving before an April 26 deadline.

If the building does go to auction, Manteca’s share of a $1.5 million sale would be $221,752 meaning that while the building was in city hands would have managed to have lost $5.4 million without putting the structure to use for the benefit of the community. That is before the interest property owners in the RDA areas are continuing to pay for the next 20 years on the bonds sold to generate the $5.3 million are factored in.

Should the building ultimately be sold to Inner City Action for $1 it would be with the agreement should it stop being a resource center for homeless endeavors that the building’s ownership would revert back to government ownership, auctioned, and the proceeds split between 10 local taxing agencies.

During a 25-day “homeless tent revival” Inner City Action operated through Feb. 17 in the parking lot of the Qualex building they had 366 unsheltered individuals pass through their gates and into the temporary homeless resource center compound. Of those, 243 were male and 123 female. They had 308 homeless individuals take showers and 73 receive haircuts. Each day they served 30 to 50 breakfasts, 50 to 77 lunches, and 40 to 60 dinners.

The services being available on a consistent routine basis is considered critical to building relationships and trust to eventually get the homeless to commit to programs needed to get off the street.

Those showers, meals, haircuts, and the fact there was a place for the homeless to go allowed Inner City Action during those 25 days get 23 people off the street and into rehab programs and/or shelter including three children.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email