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Plan calls for hiring Turlock Gospel Mission for $143,000 to operate warming center this winter
sprung homeless
The inside of homeless sleeping quarters in a Sprung Structure in San Diego.

Manteca’s next step in its bid to step up efforts to address the city’s homeless problems is to seek a state grant in excess of $2 million.

The money would go toward three things: The purchase of the Qualex property for use as a navigation center, the retention of the Turlock Gospel Mission to  operate a warming center this winter, and the purchase of a Sprung Structure.

Sprung Structures produced by a Canadian firm are now in  use to house the homeless in Fresno,  Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego among other cities. The firm delivers structure featuring aluminum arches connected with a fire retardant outer performance architectural membrane that are being used by cities as a long-term or temporary homeless shelters. The company’s website noted a structure can be  delivered and erected in as little as eight weeks.

It needs minimal foundation work meaning it can be placed on asphalt. They can also provide the needed furnishings such as beds, lockers, and other items as well as the electrical and other needs such as heating and cooling systems.  The  fiberglass material used provides for a significantly more efficient use of energy — and therefore more effective heating and cooling — than traditional tent-like structures.

Other cities have used the structures to provide safe and secure accommodations for the homeless as well as bathrooms, showers, laundry, counseling, and medical care.

The firm has placed more than 12,000 structures in 100 countries. They have been used for temporary or permanent shelter building solutions by churches and municipalities. Besides emergency housing and homeless shelter uses the Sprung structures are often used for include youth centers, community centers, and educational facilities.

City Manager Miranda Lutzow said the Sprung Structure would be erected in the Qualex parking lot at 555 Industrial Park Drive and used this winter as a warming center and then next summer as a cooling center. During the gap in between, the structure could be used as a day center for the homeless.

As a warming center, there would be overnight stays.

Having a Sprung Structure opens up other possibilities.

The city, as an example, could use Sprung structures for a navigation center or, in the event the Qualex building is too expensive to rehab they could be used long-term as a homeless shelter.

The membrane has a 25-year guarantee while the non-corroding aluminum substructure has a 50-year guarantee.


Why Manteca is going

forward with Qualex site

Manteca has been awarded a $500,000 grant to go toward rehab of the Qualex building.

The new grant that is due next week would include $1.1 million to purchase the Qualex property at 555 Industrial Park Drive as well as pay the Turlock Gospel Mission $143,000 to run the warming center this winter. It would also go toward securing a Sprung structure complete with beds and other needs.

The exact amount the city will ask for to purchase a Spring Structure will be determined once a final space need is determined. Staff is now in the process of doing that.

Lutzow noted the council made it clear Qualex was the preferred site after they vetted nine potential locations for a homeless navigation center last December. The city manager emphasized if the council ultimately follows through and acquires the Qualex site after due diligence is completed, the city will work with neighboring firms to make sure the city secures the site. That could include placing non cut-able wrought iron fencing around the Qualex property.

Assistant City Manager Lisa Blackmon pointed out the Qualex parking lot is large enough the city could encourage the homeless sleeping in vehicles to park them there overnight for their safety and to remove issues form the streets.

Blackmon noted that the current solid waste operations site on Wetmore Street — first suggested by Councilman Dave Breitenbucher for a homeless navigation center once solid waste moves to the wastewater treatment plant — likely will end up as a new home for the city’s streets division now located directly across the street and backing up to the railroad tracks.

That’s because the city is looking to have the federal government purchase the land east of the animal shelter from where the old water tower now stands to the streets division located in older Butler-style buildings as well as the former vehicle maintenance building and yard in between for parking when Altamont Corridor Express trains start stopping at the Manteca transit center in 2023.

Having commuters catching the train from parking on the south side of the tracks won’t consume land with a high potential for development as high density housing and other uses on the edge of downtown to serve as parking lots for 10 to 12 hours by people not likely to access downtown stories, services, and restaurants.

Given the initial plans are not to add a second track, a passenger platform could be erected on the south side of the tracks in addition to the north side. Ultimately, if the corridor is double tracked, Lutzow said a pedestrian overcrossing could be put in place.

The council will decide Tuesday whether to submit the grant application when they meet at 7 p.m. remotely by Zoom due to the pandemic. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s website and can also be viewed on Comcast Cable Channel 97.

Public comments for

tonight’s council meeting

Public comments for the Manteca council meeting taking Tuesday at 7 p.m. must be submitted by no later than 4 p.m. Tuesday. Public comment will be limited to 250 words and every effort will be made by staff to read these comments into the record. Comments that exceed 250 words will not be read into the record and will be made a part of the official record on file with the City Clerk. Comments received after the 4 p.m. deadline will not be read into the record and will be made a part of the official record on file with the City Clerk if received prior to the end of the meeting.

Public Comment may be submitted by  or they can be hand delivered to the Office of the City Clerk, 1001 W. Center St., Ste. B, Manteca.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email