By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Portables will help accommodate 100 homeless
homeless dorm
These are some of the beds in the dorms opening April 16 at the homeless emergency services center at 555 Industrial Park Drive.

Manteca is delivering on its promise later this month to improve living conditions for the city’s homeless while working to get them off the street and reduce community problems they create.

The first set of portable dorms with 50 beds each will open on Tuesday, April 16.

They are at the fenced-in homeless emergency services center in the parking lot at 555 Industrial Park Drive.

It is the second step in a three-phase holistic effort to assist — and in many cases — temporarily house the homeless while working to get them off the streets.

The first was the opening of the emergency warming center in December of 2019 using a large tent. It was also at the Manteca Industrial Park site.

That transformed into the current emergency services operation that allows for overnight camping in makeshift shelters or vehicles within the fenced in area[.

The dorms are part of a second phase that includes 100 beds overall  as well as portable structures with toilets, showers, and sinks.  It will also include a portable kitchen and day room, to provide access to resources.

The third phase — that will represent Manteca’s permanent and ongoing effort to address homeless issues — is the homeless navigation center being built two blocks on Carnegie Court to the west of the current emergency services center.

The navigation center will not function as a drop-in shelter where the homeless can come and go at will.

Instead, they need to commit to an effort to get off the streets. The center will provide housing, meals, and other needs while they take advantage of various resources to enable them to get back on their feet.

The city, which has secured a $15 million state grant for the navigation center, is expected to include transitional housing that may consist of small “pallet” houses.

As such, they could be used by the homeless who have secured jobs and are saving to be able to transfer into housing of their own while still receiving support from various on-site services including meals.

The homeless navigation center is also expected to function as a resource center — just like the current emergency center —- to help those in danger of becoming homeless.


Why it is taking so long


Progress on getting the dorms in place as well as advancing to construction of the navigation center has been frustrating for homeless advocates as well as those pressuring the city to get more homeless off the streets.

It is a frustration shared by city management and city leaders alike.

That said, it is simply the legal hoops the city has had to jump through such as environmental clearance as well as supply chain issues.

In a bid to speed the process up and maximize available funding, city crews have done much of the site work including extending water lines.

Final fire inspections have been done and other clearances obtained.

The city also opted to provide the most reasonable optimum conditions for the homeless.

Most of the beds are screened off from other beds.

Each homeless will be assigned a bed plus two storage crates — similar to the large ones sold at Target, Home Depot, and Walmart — for personal belongings.

There are also desks, along with several bunk beds in each dorm, that were obtained from the University of the Pacific last year when they were changing out dorm furniture.

Taking advantage of such opportunities is helping keep costs down for the city.

The portables also have heating and air conditioning.

The city, is hiring a full-time homeless and affordable housing coordinator.  The city has the manpower needed to apply for, secure, and administer federal grants that are helping cover day-to-day city services for the homeless.

In doing so, it is minimizing the need for the city to divert money from the general fund that is needed for day-to-day municipal services for police and fire and such.

There are 238 homeless in Manteca.

That’s the unofficial tally from the Jan. 29 point in time count conducted of the homeless in the city.

It represents an increase of 19 individuals — or 8 percent — over the previous count in January of 2022 that tallied 219 homeless.

The higher count, while up from 2022, was expected.

That’s because this time around Manteca city personnel along with volunteers who work day-in and day-out with the homeless had a well-documented list of locations where they knew homeless were either camping or hanging out.

 The official tally, when released, will include a wealth of information on the homeless.

It will include:

*Where they went homeless (in the 2022 survey the majority ended up on the streets while living in Manteca.)

*What caused them to become homeless.

*What is preventing them from getting off the street.

*What services do they need to access to help them get off the street.

*Demographics such as age and gender.

*Health issues they may have.

That data will be used to further dial in city efforts to help get the homeless off the streets.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email