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Many Manteca homeless have longtime ties to community
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There are people who believe the bulk of the homeless on Manteca’s streets are imports and are all there because of drugs.

The reality is different.

During Tuesday’s Manteca City Council meeting a handful of the nearly 60 people that Inner City Action has helped get off the streets of Manteca during the past 30 months working with Manteca Police resource officers shared their stories.

One was a woman and her two young boys who became homeless because of financial circumstances and family issues and were living in a car primarily around Library Park before Inner City Action gave them a way off the street.

Another was a mother who for two years lived on Manteca’s streets primarily sleeping in the library courtyard before the wrought iron fence was put up as well as in nooks and crannies near Library Park. She has been able to get her life back thanks to Inner City Action and is like any other mother who is looking forward to a son entering East Union High next year and seeing her other children doing well in elementary schools.

She is now devoting her energy “to save people I use to run the streets with.”

Another — a 27-year-old man — told how he spent 11 years on the street and stole items to support his drug habit. The Inner City Action program was the only one that was able to accomplish getting him clean and leading a productive life.

The mother of another man who failed to shake drugs and a life of self-destruction through other outreach programs and who had been in an out of jail and prison due to his drug use praised Inner City Action for delivering the miracle she prayed for.

Her son, who at one point dropped down to 135 pounds after detox and programs for substance abusers failed to turn him around, said he would be in prison today if it wasn’t for Inner City Action. Today he is a robust picture of health and is employed.

Scores of others being helped back to being productive citizens are working every day on teams Inner City Action sends out including one that is helping clean up fire debris in Paradise after the Camp Fire destroyed 14,000 homes. Inner City Action provides not just the family structure but employs the work ethic to overcome demons.

The above mentioned were born and raised in Manteca or lived here most of their lives before becoming homeless.

Inner City Action, as Pastor Frank Saldana pointed out, is not in the business of operating a homeless drop-in shelter or a soup kitchen nor do they want to be. They offer a structured program for those they can reach out to and convince to take the steps to get off the street. 

In doing so they address the vexing homeless issue, substance abuse, repair families, reduce crime that occurs to feed drug habits, and provides the skills needed for those they are helping to be hard and productive workers.

Now the question is how hard city officials will really want to work to allow Inner City Action to step up its game of helping turn the lives of people around that in turn address many homeless issued facing Manteca.

Another change in

appointment policy

by the City Council

For the last three months the general consensus, action and words of the council was one shouldn’t expect to be appointed to a comision if you don’t bother to show up at the council meeting to make a pitch and answer questions.

An exception apparently was carved out Tuesday night when the council passed over an applicant — former Councilman Richard Silverman — who showed up for one that didn’t.

The no-show was the incumbent that serves as Manteca’s representative on the San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District board, Glenn Page. Another no-show was applicant Jeff Tilton. Both communicated they were unable to attend either due to personal reasons or a conflict.

Mayor Ben Cantu indicated he knew all three applicants adding that if the incumbent is doing a good job there is no reason to replace them.

The City Council concurred.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email