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Homeless resource measure for Manteca is nearing OK by state
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In as little as 15 days, Manteca may know whether it can use the 57,329-square-foot former Qualex building purchased 14 years ago by the since dissolved Manteca Redevelopment Agency for $3.6 million as a homeless resource center.

The state had called for all surplus RDA property to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. That meant if the building once used by the division of Eastman Kodak to process photos and slides for Northern California stores fetched today’s market value of $1.5 million, the city would have received $254,000 on its investment as the rest of the money would have had to been divided among other local taxing agencies. The building is at 555 Industrial Park Drive.

The bill authored by Assemblyman Heath Flora, R-Ripon, to allow use of the building as a homeless resource center instead secured a 7-0 vote from the State Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday.

The full State Senate will vote on it within the next 11 days. Once that happens, it would be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for signature. Given there has been no opposition in either the Assembly or State Senate plus the fact the governor has made addressing homeless issues a high priority, the bill is expected to become law.

That will immediately put pressure on the city to see if they can make things happen.

Issues include:

allowing such a use in an industrial zone.

whether they are willing to make the deal for $1 to a qualified agency such as Inner City Action to do the work needed to the building and running a muscular daytime homeless resource center so the money the agency spends gets the most mileage possible to address the city’s homeless problems.

if the city will refrain from requiring improvements that would normally go with such a use but wasn’t required for the industrial uses in Manteca Industrial Park such as sidewalks. Not only would it add expense but it would be the only sidewalk in blocks.

vetting Inner City Action’s plans and finances to make sure the endeavor is feasible. The City Council already has been given a proposal that they felt comfortable enough to make the push with the state to see if the idea was possible. Elected leaders may want to explore more specifics before moving forward.

drawing up an agreement that spells out city requirements including the state stipulation once it ceases being used as a homeless resource center, the former Qualex building would be auctioned off to the highest bidder with proceeds split between local taxing agencies.

On Tuesday Mayor Ben Cantu lauded the progress in Sacramento, noting once the bill is signed into law that Manteca will be able to move forward with its “best option” to address homeless concerns.

Inner City does not plan to house homeless at the location. Instead it will be used to provide services while working to get them into their program and off the street with the intent of ultimately making them employable and standing on their own financially.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email