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Future homeless shelter won’t be a drop-in facility
kern county navigation
Shelter beds at the Kern County homeless navigation center that is located in a Sprung Structure

The proposed homeless navigation center the city is pursuing near the heart of the Manteca Industrial Park won’t be a drop-in operation.

That means the homeless can’t drop by for a meal and then leave or even “camp” illegally nearby.

It’s because the city plans to operate it in a manner where the homeless are taken to the navigation center either by community-based outreach groups or by the police.

The current tent at 555 Industrial Park Drive that serves as an emergency shelter and cooling center has rules in place but it functions as a drop-in shelter.

In order to combat illegal camping near the navigation center as well as enforce it elsewhere, a number of beds will be left empty on a nightly basis.

That means if a police officer tells a homeless person camping illegally nearby or in another location that they have to agree to be taken to the navigation center or else they will be forced to move on.

A similar strategy at select navigation centers in other cities has kept areas near them devoid of illegal encampments or people even sleeping in vehicles parked on nearby streets.

Insights on how the navigation center would be operated to address a variety of issues was provided during a presentation this past week before the Manteca City Council.

The navigation center would be accessed from Carnegie Court and not South Main Street. It would also have fencing and a gate to secure it.

Those accepted at the navigation center don’t have to be clean of substance abuse problems. But once they are admitted they will need to follow specific rules that likely would include getting into some type of detox program.

Depending up exactly how the city approaches the navigation center, it could cost anywhere from $9 million to $19.9 million.

The wide variation takes account the size in terms of homeless occupancy caps and the type of structures employed.

Although the last point-in time count placed Manteca’s homeless population at 318, experts say that the shelter doesn’t necessarily have to have a bed for every homeless individual depending upon how it is operated given not all homeless are going to seek help to get off the street.

The council is moving forward with plans to purchase 8 acres at 682 South Main for $1.7 million as the permanent location for a navigation center and a mixed-use project.

The navigation center will include temporary shelter, intensive case management, housing navigation, employment services, meals, medical care, showers, and laundry facilities.

The proposed navigation center is envisioned to include a 50-bed men’s dorm, a 30-bed women’s dorm, a 20-bed family dorm, a 10-bed couples’ dorm, and 16 units of transitional housing. It will have a common room that will be used the dining and watching TV, full kitchen and food service, two offices for the operator the city contracts with, three offices for shared outside services, a classroom/multipurpose room/activity room, as well as two sets of restrooms and showers.

A 126-bed facility with 19,300 square feet is pegged at $9 million if Sprung Structures are used, $12 million if pre-engineered modular buildings are used, and $14.3 million if permanent wood-framed buildings are used.

A 299-bed facility with 32,500 square feet is estimated to cost $11.7 million if Sprung Structures are used, $16.4 million if pre-engineered modular buildings are used, and $19.9 million if permanent wood-framed buildings are used.

So far the city has secured $3.1 million from outside sources to go toward the cost.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email