STOCKTON – About a week ago, the former Holt Union campus was looked at as a potential site to accommodate the San Joaquin County unsheltered homeless.
Days later, residents of Roberts Island – an agricultural area located seven miles outside of Stockton – voiced their displeasure of converting the closed-down school site into a possible one-stop resource center for the at-risk and in-need homeless.
Supervisor Tom Patti, who recently met with the “Fight the Holt School Camp” folks at the Roberts-Union Farm Center, announced at Thursday’s San Joaquin Continuum of Care or COC meeting held at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium: “Holt School is not a suitable location.”
Russell Stromer and others were thrilled and relieved to hear this. He’s lived on Roberts Island for the past 15 years and is aware that Holt School, for reasons why it was shut down in the first place, and its location – hardly centralized in this Delta region – not to mention the potential problems it might cause neighbors was not a good idea.
Patti agreed. But he’s still strong on the plan of having a facility consisting of pooling the various resources under the “Tru Care Plan,” where the referral criteria would be those with substance (any type of drug or alcohol) challenges, mental health challenges, and those who are homeless. He listed several possible options – Sharpe Army Depot, Mary Graham Hall at San Joaquin General Hospital, the former women’s prison on Arch Road, Rough & Ready Island, and some empty warehouses near the Stockton Municipal Airport, to name a few – as viable locations worth pursuing.
“This is not a Tom Patti plan,” he said, urging the COC to look at programs such as Housing First, Haven of Hope, Community Homeless Solution, or Homebase as possible models.
Patti is looking to coordinate funding and support for a “centralized” resource center consisting of wrap-around services.
“What’s possible in the next 100 days,” he said to COC board. “What can I do to put a group together?”
COC is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Services range from outreach and engagement, emergency shelter, transitional housing – permanent supportive or affordable housing.
COC uses the Homeless Management Information System to keep track of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless in the county. The HMIS dashboard, according to board member Jon Mendelson, consisted of 1,716 entered in an emergency shelter of a temporary shelter program for this past June and July.
Of that, 933 were first-time homeless or had not been in a shelter during the previous 24 months.
COC’s 2019 homeless census and survey reported the number of unsheltered homeless in Manteca at 218, with Stockton leading the way with 921 – Tracy (155), Lodi (139), Lathrop (14), Ripon (7) and Escalon (4) along with another 100 in the unincorporated areas of SJC rounded out the unsheltered homeless data.
COC along with the various cities in the county along with the various care and service agencies coupled with the churches, law enforcement agencies and other non-profit groups have spent the past four years working together with the homeless situation throughout the county.
For more information including the upcoming meeting schedule, log on to www.sanjoaquincoc.org