There might be a homeless commission in Manteca’s future but not until after the city nails down a game plan.
And that apparently includes securing 8 acres on South Main Street with the eastern half set aside for a homeless shelter, navigation center to help work with people to get them off the street, and transitional housing.
The Manteca City Council on Tuesday kept in place a council ad hoc committee to allow for quicker progress with staff bouncing ideas off of two elected council members to allow for expediting the navigation center and addressing other homeless issues.
They also appointed Councilman Charlie Halford to serve on the committee with Mayor Ben Cantu. Halford’s appointment came after Dave Breitenbucher stepped down after declaring he didn’t like the direction the committee was going.
Deputy City Manager Toni Lundgren in response to a query from Councilman Jose Nuño noted Lodi and Tracy both had homeless commissions. She added both are further along in implementing homeless shelters/navigation centers plus have homeless strategic plans in place or further along in development.
Several council members expressed the belief Manteca could end up establishing a homeless commission once they are further along with plans for the navigation center.
Breitenbucher, who spoke in favor of continuing the ad hoc committee while establishing a community-based homeless commission now, again raised concerns that the city doesn’t have a backup plan if they don’t succeed in securing the 8 acres north of the Funsten flooring distribution center. He has consistently been against the South Main street site. Instead he has favored using property the city currently owns beneath and near the water tower across the tracks from the Manteca Transit Center.
City leaders have repeatedly stressed they are committed to putting in place a masonry wall to secure the eastern site of the South Main Street location for homeless uses with access only from Carnegie Court.
That area would be buffered from South Main Street and the neighborhood across the street by a workforce/affordable housing project similar to the Juniper Apartments on Atherton Drive next door to the city’s second most expensive apartment complex to rent — Tesoro — where one bedroom and one bathroom units cost $2,100 a month.
It was estimated it would take 18 months to two years to get the homeless complex in place once the city obtains the land.
A workplace/affordable housing project would likely take much longer. That’s because the city would have to find a non-profit partner that would then need to secure financing. The city no longer has the luxury of augmenting such non-profit efforts with 20 percent set asides from redevelopment funding as they did with the Juniper Apartments, three low-income senior complexes, and the purchase and renovation of once problematic low-income apartments on Wawona Street at Union Road.
Several council members have indicated if an affordable housing complex doesn’t pan out, the site is ideal for other municipal uses including possibly a new police station.
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