Manteca is looking at ways they can step up addressing homeless issues while working toward developing 8.04 acres along South Main Street as a combined affordable housing and homeless navigation center project.
Part of the solution may be Pallet Houses. They are 8-foot by 8-foot aluminum structures first deployed as temporary emergency shelter after the Katrina disaster in New Orleans.
Pallet Homes are now being used by cities seeking temporary housing solutions to get homeless off the streets while working with them to transition into permanent housing.
The 64-square-foot structures come with built in shelving, two bunk style beds, air conditioning, heating, and electrical outlet. They are available on Amazon for $6,959 for sale to individuals online. The Seattle-based company lists the 64-square-foot unit being available for starting at $4,900 and a 100-square-foot unit starting at $7,000.
The structures are rust proof, can easily be moved, and should last a minimum of 10 years. They are also can easily be sanitized between users
A cross-section of Manteca municipal departments that work with homeless issues — police, fire, public works, building inspection, and the city manager’s office — are traveling to Fresno Monday to get a firsthand look at how that city is tackling homeless issues.
Fresno has Sprung Structures that Manteca is exploring the possible use of that can house up to 50 homeless individuals as a shelter as well as provide space for support services to help people get off the street as well as provide toilets and showers.
They also have 120 Pallet Home units in place that have replaced converted Tuff Sheds that had been used for years to provide temporary housing. Separate facilities provide bathrooms, showers, and support efforts.
Fresno also has a navigation center with the array of services homeless need to have access to resolve addictions and other issues that are a stumbling block to them securing work and being able to support themselves.
Interim City Manager Lisa Blackmon said the Pallet Homes could be used now — and when Manteca secures and opens its ultimate site for a navigation center — if the council decides they are a viable solution.
The city is currently working on a plan that would allow Turlock Gospel Mission that has been operating the homeless warming center on Industrial Park Drive to keep its services in place after March 31.
The goal is to keep the services in place to allow one-on-one efforts to work with homeless year round continue until such time a permanent location is up and running.
By literally not folding the tent, although it could be replaced with other options, the bottom line effort to work toward getting people off the street can continue. What is happening now when the periods needed for a cooling or warming tent are over — the homeless they have been working with are back on the streets essentially forcing the process to essentially start again.
Blackmon said that way the headway Turlock Gospel Mission has made can continue. Since December they have been able to work with 27 people to secure jobs.
Another benefited of keeping the Industrial Park location open are a large number of the homeless who have been sleeping in their vehicles around town are now parking overnight behind the warming center tent where they will often sleep in their cars.
The City Council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. during a Zoom meeting will hear a presentation from Turlock Gospel Mission on the warming center operations. It can be viewed via livestream on the city’s website or Comcast cable channel 97.
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