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Manager sought for affordable housing plus homeless effort
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The typical apartment with two bedrooms and one bathroom n Manteca rented for 86 percent less a decade ago.

At the same time the homeless in Manteca numbered in the dozens and not the 218 tabulated during the most recent point-in-time count conducted in January of 2019.

It is those two vexing increases in rent as well as homeless numbers that prompted City Manager Miranda Lutzow to recommend Tuesday that the Manteca City Council approve a Housing and Homeless Program Manager.

The aim is for the city — after more than a decade of talking about the need to address both issues — to dedicate time and energy through a fulltime staff member to pursue strategies and grants.  To date, the city has relied on having both issues tacked on to the job duties of existing staff on a piecemeal basis.

Addressing homeless issues has been the No. 1 City Council priority for the past three years. Since 2001, city councils have off and on made affordable housing a priority.

The city has little to show for affordable housing except a handful of partnership projects with non-profits using redevelopment agency funds that are no longer available to build or secure just over 400 subsidized apartments since 1998. Most of those have been for low-income seniors.

Manteca has made some headway with homeless issues. There is not, however, a permanent facility in place to centralize all resources in a concerted effort to step-up efforts to work with the homeless to get them off the street or to prevent people from ending up on the street.

The current council earlier this year balked at a staff suggestion for a homeless coordinator but indicated they were open to a combined position that also addressed stepping up efforts to create more affordable housing.

Based on the Manteca Bulletin’s annual apartment rent survey of larger complexes built since 1980, a typical apartment with two bedrooms and one bathroom rented for $895 a month in 2010. Based on a survey conducted in January of this year, the average rent is now up to $1,665. That reflects an 86 percent increase in rent in 10 years.

Lutzow said the city has been hobbled due to a lack of staff to pursue homeless grants as well as to keep pushing the navigation center concept forward to the point it becomes a reality. Efforts to date have been handled by city personnel that are juggling a number of other initiatives.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email