Manteca has taken the first step toward city funding of a year-round homeless shelter and services.
The City Council Tuesday authorized spending $180,000 in the first of what could be a series of six month contracts with the Turlock Gospel Mission to operate an emergency homeless shelter at 555 Industrial Park Drive.
The vote that extends the shelter through Sept. 30, 2021 also grants the city manager authorization to extend it for a second six-month period from Oct. 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022 for an additional $180,000.
They also approved a conditional use permit to allow the tent operation to legally take place in the industrial park much to the chagrin of neighboring property owners and businesses.
They expressed their dismay in an email to city officials sent via a representative. At least one owner that had spent significant money buying and repairing a nearby industrial building that had been damaged by an illegal marijuana growing operation several years ago has decided to sell due to the proximity of the homeless shelter. They have been experiencing non-stop issues with homeless that vandalize, trespass, and defecate on their property.
city could get same
services for less money
The council decision was not unanimous. While Councilman Dave Breitenbucher praises the Turlock Gospel Mission’s efforts and has made several visits to the site, he cast the lone dissenting vote as he was not sure that taxpayers were getting the most bang for their buck.
Breitenbucher noted Inner City Action ran the warming center a year ago for less money and had success with the homeless as well. The councilman believes the council by simply going with Turlock Rescue Mission instead of putting out a request for proposals was failing in its role of being good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.
Interim City Manager Lisa Blackmon noted Inner City Action and Turlock Gospel Mission have different service models. The biggest difference is Inner City Action is faith-based.
City staff indicated there was a need to make sure the shelter stayed in place after March 31 when the warming center contract with Turlock Gospel Mission ends. That’s because the loss of the shelter and accompanying services plus the trust being built with the homeless would be interrupted forcing the city to start again when they activate an emergency cooling center this summer or re-institute the warming center next summer.
City of Manteca faces land
mines going forward
The reaction of nearby businesses as well as Breitenbucher’s pushback on costs underscores the land mines the city needs to navigate as they move forward with securing and developing 8.04 acres along South Main Street as a permanent homeless navigation center and potential affordable housing project.
Addressing homeless issues is an expensive, ongoing proposition. Doing so without running afoul with the law or court rulings and opening the city to another lawsuit that could be a costly endeavor is a tight-rope act. It is made all the more difficult by homeless behavior that results in property vandalism, uncivil behavior, and such.
And all that is being down against a backdrop knowing there are hardcore homeless that are unwilling to seek help for various reasons. In other words those who work with the homeless and city leaders are acutely aware that making homeless issues go away isn’t in the cards and the best they can hope for is to reduce homeless and related issues and/or keep them from growing.
Rudy Valencia who is overseeing the Manteca shelter operation alluded to the multi-faceted homeless problem when he noted they are homeless you don’t see in encampments or walking down the street but are homeless never-the-less.
Since opening in early December, Turlock Gospel Mission has made 150 unique contacts with homeless individuals. That has resulted in:
*2,201 nights of sleep.
*5,688 meals being served.
*5 persons securing housing.
*6 securing full-time employment.
*7 placed in programs to address substance abuse and other issues.
*25 obtain California identification cards critical for obtaining employment and services.
*12 have obtained cellphones that are also essential in seeking employment.
*5 have looked for unemployment that they earned the right to secure due to their employment history.
*5 have obtained EBT cards for food.
There have been more than 11,376 volunteer hours with much of that through efforts organized by various groups.
Those that have worked with Turlock Gospel Mission to date include Love INC, Manteca Gospel Rescue Mission, HOPE Family Shelter, Calvary Community Church, Crossroads Community Church, Northgate Community Church, Sequoia Church, Grace Community Church of Lathrop, and the City of Manteca.
For the past two years, Manteca has had periodic warming or cooling shelters in place for as long as three months at a time that was attached to outreach services. There has never been a year-round effort with services accessed from one site.
The email from Jim Martin of Lee & Associates questioned why a homeless shelter was being allowed by the city in an industrial Park.
To contact Dennis Wyatt@mantecabulletin.com