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Manteca may ask MUSD for help funding homeless center

The Manteca Unified School District could end up with a say in how Manteca establishes and operates a proposed homeless navigation center.

That’s because municipal staff — in order to secure funding for the navigation center — is proposing the Manteca City Council direct Acting City Manager Miranda Ludlow to negotiate with the nine agencies that are entitled to proceeds from the state mandated auction of the Qualex building bought by the former redevelopment agency.

In exchange for pledging all or a portion of the sale proceeds of the 57,000-square-fooot former photo processing building at 555 Industrial Park Drive, each agency would get a seat and a vote on a proposed Homeless Joint Task Force.

The proposal to ask agencies that would benefit from the sale of the Qualex to voluntarily pledge all or part of the sale proceeds as well as formation of the Joint Homeless Task Force will be considered by the council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Based on a $1.5 million sale at auction the Qualex building would yield $750,804 for Manteca Unified, $291.312 for San Joaquin County, $221,752 for the City of Manteca, $96,601 for Delta College, $77,420 for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, $25,155 for the San Joaquin County Office of Education, $24,647 for the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library system, $10,222 for the San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District, $2,302 from the San Joaquin County Flood Control, and $24 from Reclamation District 17.

Given the vision is to incorporate school district homeless services for students into the navigation center, the proposal might get some traction. The county has also indicated there is a need for stepped up efforts to address the homeless situation throughout the county while the library system would benefit if the navigation center reduces homeless issues in and around the Manteca Library.

The scenario gets a tad convoluted if the City Council ultimately decides the Qualex location is the site where the homeless navigation center should go.

That’s because the city has the option of buying the Qualex property outright from the successor agency that is holding the former RDA property. If that happens, the city would need to buy it at the current appraised market price.

The $1.5 million value was attached in 2018 to the Qualex property that the RDA bought for $3.6 million in April 2006 with the intent of it being remodeled as the new headquarters for the Manteca Police Department.

A previous attempt to allow the successor oversight board for the former RDA property to sell it for a dollar to a non-profit as a homeless resource center was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom after passing the California Legislature unanimously. Newsom was against the idea of Qualex not going back on the tax roll to help support public schools.

But if the city elects to buy the Qualex building for use as a homeless navigation center, it would be taken off the property tax rolls anyway with local taxpayers being tagged with the cost of essentially buying it twice — first in 2005 for $3.6 million and possible again in 2020 for $1.5 million or more.


What is a homeless

navigation center?

The navigation concept is modeled after an approach San Francisco is taking.

Navigation centers provide a wide variety of serves including shelter, pet care, harm reduction, meals, and social service connections to clients and provide 24/7 staffing.

The staff report notes the San Francisco Navigation Centers “do not accept walk-ins. All individuals and couples who enter have been selected by the SF Homeless Outreach Team or a centralized referral system. Because Navigation Centers operate 24/7, there are no lines outside in the evening, and guests are not exited onto the street in the morning.


“Teamwork and cooperation between the San Francisco Department of Homeless Services, Police, and Public Works Departments is the key to Navigation Center success.  The Department of Social Services provides the management of the Navigation Centers, Police provide for the safety of the centers, and the Public Works Department provides for the design and construction of the centers. “

The site navigation center requires 20,000 square feet. 

Acting City Manager Miranda Lutzow said staff has been operating on the premise that whatever space is selected that it can accommodate 218 homeless in a sleeping arrangement at one time. That number reflects the point in time homeless census conducted in January. It is the foundation number to comply with under court directives.

She also said the plan is to have non-profits run the navigation center.

The city also has been working with Manteca Unified that provides services to homeless school children to help determine the best sites. The school district favors the Kmart site.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email