The advent of an emergency warming center for Manteca’s 200 plus homeless that could open as early as next week is the subject of a meeting today between city officials and operators of businesses in the vicinity of the parking lot of the former Qualex building where a temporary tent will be pitched.
The meeting takes place from noon to 2 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd. Those with — or who manage — business interests in the Manteca Industrial Park and the nearby vicinity have been invited as well as the general public. Lunch and beverages will be provided.
Economic Development Manager Don Smail noted that due to the nature of the cold emergency requiring quick action and the lack of shelter for the homeless, the City Council moved forward without first reaching out to those near the site of the warming center.
Smail said the city wants to explain details of the emergency ordinance as well as listen to concerns and share how the city plans to address issues that may arise.
Mayor Ben Cantu along with city staff will also discuss efforts now under way to find a more permanent solution in the coming months to the homeless challenge. Those solutions will involve either a drop-in homeless shelter or a robust homeless resource center or both.
The permanent solution will not be at the Qualex property. It is being auctioned later this year.
The health emergency now in effect through March 31 was declared on a unanimous vote of the City Council Tuesday. It allows for a dedicated temporary place where the homeless can seek shelter when the daily low forecast is expected to dip down to at least 40 degrees.
The warming center, however, could open whenever the forecast calls for a low of 52 degrees should the non-profit operating it request to do so and the city agrees. The activation temperature can’t be higher than 52 degrees for the low. The 52 degrees number is cast in stone. Based on historic average low if the threshold were raised to 52 degrees for activation at some point in the future, the warming center helter would be open through March 31.
The warming center will be placed in the parking lot of the former Qualex building at 555 Industrial Park Drive.
Inner City Action that operated a successful outreach program last winter at that location without incident will run the emergency warming shelter. The city is covering the use permit fee plus dedicating $25,000 to buy gas needed to run large heaters inside the tent.
There are no restrictions on hours of operations spelled out in the emergency ordinance that covers only temperature benchmarks when the temporary warming center can be activated.
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