Manteca has been awarded $2 million in pass thru state funds by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors to establish a permanent homeless navigation center on 8 acres along South Main Street north of Industrial Park Drive and south of Wetmore Street.
The money will cover the $1.6 million purchase price leaving $400,000 to jumpstart efforts to put in place infrastructure and perhaps some actual buildings.
Councilman Gary Singh – who made the successful presentation before the supervisors — has vowed to work with State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman in a bid to convince the California Legislature and ultimately Gov. Gavin Newsom to turn the 8 acres over to the city at no charge.
That way the $2 million grant the city has obtained could be used to get the actual navigation center in place.
Singh worked with Assemblyman Heath Flora’s office three years ago to get a bill passed unanimously in both the Assembly and State Senate to turn over the former Qualex property at 555 Industrial Park Drive where an emergency homeless shelter tent is now in place.
Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the bill.
Both the South Main site and Qualex property are former Manteca Redevelopment Agency properties that — since RDAs were dissolved in 2010 — by law are now owned by the state until they are disposed of through auctions. In the case of a government agency such as the City of Manteca, an option exists for former RDA property to be purchased at the assessed market value before it goes to auction.
Singh said since it all involves taxpayer money it would be more efficient and effective if the state ultimate turned the 8 acres over to the city allowing the $2 million to get a homeless navigation center in place.
Manteca’s plan is unique for the region as it includes a navigation center, homeless shelter, transitional housing from the streets, and affordable housing all in place.
Supervisor Robert Rickman at the July 13 county board meeting requested funding for city planned Emergency Low Barrier Homeless Shelters in the cities of Lodi, Manteca, and Tracy. After presentations from the cities on their respective plans, the Board awarded $2.8 million to Lodi, $2 million to Manteca, and $3.6 million to Tracy.
These funds will assist the cities with the establishment of these shelters, which will provide wraparound services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, housing and employment services, and much more.
“I have been lobbying my colleagues during Board meetings for funds to assist the cities with their efforts to add another tool in our collective toolbox to respond to our homeless crisis,” Rickman noted. “Chairman Patti and I have long been engaging our city officials to determine the best way we could help the cities. I appreciate Chairman Patti’s encouragement to bring this item forward and its approval.”
A State Auditor’s February report on Homelessness in California, noted that the state has the largest homeless population in the nation - more than 151,000 Californians experienced homelessness in 2019 – and that the State’s approach to addressing homelessness is disjointed.
“By working together and working locally, we can attack the root causes and make significant strides to decrease the rate of homelessness in our cities and neighborhoods,” Rickman said.
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