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Patti seeks to spend $1M on big tent for 324 homeless
patti tent
The exterior of the industrial-sized tent used for San Diego’s “bridge program” aimed at getting the homeless off the streets.

San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti is working on a plan to possibly spend $1 million set aside in federal relief funds for his district to establish a massive tent shelter to house those considered vulnerable to COVID-19 among the county’s homeless population.

It is based on a similar project in San Diego that employs a massive industrialized tent that can house 324 homeless people and costs $1 million to acquire. Patti, who represents Lathrop, Manteca north of Yosemite Avenue and parts of Stockton, said he is working with another supervisor that is interested in possibly committing $1 million of the $3 million that is set aside for each supervisorial district to address COVID-19 relief efforts to the homeless project as well.

If the shelter is a qualified use of the funding, $2 million would create housing for 648 homeless. Patti said he is already in discussion with non-profits interested in working with the homeless to address issues that have put them on the street and to work with them to get back on their own feet.

Patti said one possible location for such a tent is the state-owned county fairgrounds in Stockton where there already is running water and utilities. He indicated there is likely an out-of-the-way area at the fairgrounds that would work.

Patti noted Gov. Gavin Newsom has encouraged local jurisdictions to consider using surplus or under-utilized state property to house the homeless.

“We are spending $1 million to house 70 homeless that are considered vulnerable (to becoming infected with COVID-19) for two months at a hotel,” Patti noted.

Patti’s plan would create ongoing temporary shelter for the same cost for 324 homeless while at the same time providing services in a bid to work toward them getting off the streets.

Patti pointed out COVID-19 will likely be a public health issue for years to come. Spending $1 million in that manner would shelter the vulnerable among the homeless as well as working to put them on the path to secure self-supporting jobs.

It has yet to be determined if the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money could be used in such a manner.

Each supervisor has been earmarked $3 million in CARES funds to use to address COVID-19 relief efforts within their district. Patti said the bulk of the money would be used as loans for small businesses and small healthcare providers such as emergency care facilities severely impacted by the pandemic. The overall amount available for the five districts is $15 million.

“Most of the businesses within the county are in urbanized areas such as cities,” Patti noted.

The supervisors on Tuesday created the nearly $133 million coronavirus relief fund with the federal CARES money they will be receiving. Congress passed the measure to help cover public health emergency costs related to COVID-19 from March 1 through Dec. 30.

The board allocated $117.9 million of the CARES funding to reimburse San Joaquin General Hospital, health care services and other county departments for COVID-19 related expenses.


County working to meet

state requirements for

reopening of businesses

Director of San Joaquin County Public Health Services Zienna Blackwell-Rodriquez  presented a dashboard to the board of how the county is tracking metrics in order to meet the state requirements so San Joaquin  County can reopen more quickly. The following are the state-mandated requirements and the county’s progress:

*TESTING CAPACITY (Requirement met). The county is meeting the State’s requirement to meet a minimum daily testing capacity of 1.5 per 1,000 residents and testing availability for at least 75% of residents within 30 minutes driving time in urban areas and 60 minutes driving time in rural areas.

*HOSPITAL CAPACITY (Requirement met.) The county is meeting the State requirement providing 35 percent hospital capacity due to COVID-19 cases and a robust plan to protect the hospital workforce with personal protection equipment (PPE).

*PROTECTION OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS (Requirement met). The county’s more recent stay-at-home order from May 8, provides clear guidance for employers and essential critical infrastructure workplaces on social distancing, and structure of the physical environment for their protection.  

*CONTAINMENT CAPACITY (Close to meeting requirement). The Sstate requires evidence of sufficient contact tracing capability and availability of temporary housing units to shelter at least 15 percent of county residents experiencing homelessness. San Joaquin County should be meeting that requirement within the next week. Additionally, there are no COVID-19 positive cases among homeless residents in the San Joaquin. County staff is working meticulously with local partners to identify homeless residents who can qualify for housing.

*VULNERABLE POPULATION PROTECTION (Close to meeting requirement). The state requires that skilled nursing facilities have greater than 14-day supply of PPE on hand for staff as well as an established process for ongoing procurement from non-state supply chains. The county is working to demonstrate the supply of PPE and process for ongoing PPE procurement from non-state supply chains.

*EPIDEMIOLOGY STABILITY (Requirement unmet). The Executive order requires less than one COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents and no deaths in 14 days. San Joaquin has had 76 new cases and 5 deaths in the past 14 days.

Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, shared that the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is flattening and is currently lower than original projections. She said this statistic should help the county provide the State with the metrics they need to accelerate the reopening of the county.  


Lovelace Transfer

reopening to public

The supervisors also approved allowing the Department of Public Works to reopen to the public the Lovelace Road Material Recovery Facility and Transfer Station; North County Recycle Center and Landfill; and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, which were temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

For the past several weeks, Public Works staff has been working with the County Public Health Officer to develop and implement safety measures for reopening all facilities to the public which include:

*Customers will be strongly encouraged to wear facial coverings while on the facility.

*Staff and customers will adhere to social distancing and other aspects of applicable Health Orders.

*Daily staff health/symptom check. Employee schedules and work environment will be modified to maintain social distancing.

* Only electronic payments will be accepted. Protective cashier screens are being installed.

*Customers at North County will unload at landfill face. Increased stall spacing included at Lovelace.

*Customers at Household Hazardous Waste facility remain in vehicles while staff processes waste.