By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manteca could hire experts to determine best way to proceed with homeless navigation center
The former Qualex building at 555 Industrial Park Drive.

The clock is ticking on Manteca’s efforts to secure the former photo processing plant property at 555 Industrial Park Drive for use as homeless navigation center for $1,125,000.

The city has until Dec. 31 to purchase the building they acquired 14 years ago for $3.6 million through the now defunct Manteca Redevelopment Agency or else the State of California will step in and auction off the property.

The Manteca City Council will get an update Tuesday on how municipal efforts are going on their directive that the site be developed to anchor an ongoing effort to get homeless off city streets. The 7 p.m. meeting will be livestreamed over the city’s website and Comcast Channel 97 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Experts have already determined there are no soil contamination issues.

On Tuesday the council will consider spending $62,720 to hire De Novo Planning to inspect the building’s electrical and mechanical systems and assess its structural integrity while researching state regulations regarding structures used as homeless navigation centers. The firm will develop concept plans and provide the city with estimates regarding retrofitting and rehabilitating the existing 57,329-square-foot building versus demolishing it and starting from scratch with permanent or portable structures

In August the San Joaquin County Oversight Board put in place in 2010 when the state dissolved redevelopment agencies to divert funds back to Sacramento during the Great Recession to oversee the disposal of RDA property, will decide whether to allow Manteca to buy Qualex for the appraised price of $1,125,000.

Should that get a green light and the city follow through on the purchase the act of obtaining the Qualex structure in the Manteca Industrial Park will have minimum impact on the municipal general fund that covers the cost of day-to-day municipal services such as police and fire. That would be the case if the Manteca council follows through on a previously expressed proposal to use the city’s share of proceeds from the sale of remaining RDA property to help cover the cost of obtaining the site.

The city’s share of $6.1 million from the sale of former RDA property on the northwest corner of Daniels Street and Airport Way as well as a parcel on South Main Street just north of the BR Funstein Flooring distribution center came to around $850,000. The proceeds of the sale of RDA properties are split up proportionately between local taxing agencies based on their property tax rates. Based on a $1,125,000 sale price for Qualex the city would receive over $200,000 as its share.

That means the city could use nearly $1.1 million in the sale of all RDA properties to offset almost all of the cost of buying the Qualex site.

That would then leave two big funding issues: The cost of providing a suitable structure whether it is through renovation or putting in place new structures as well as running the homeless navigation center.

The council can get the city help planning for the development of programs and services for people experiencing homelessness by making a request to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The agency’s staff would be deployed to provide more than 13,000 hours of technical assistance at no cost to the city.

At the same time such help is requested municipal staff would start more intense data collection on Manteca homeless and step up outreach to community based organizers and other government agencies that could assist with the development and implementation for services for a homeless navigation center.

If all goes well construction design would take place from November 2020 to February 2021 with the project going to bid in March or April of 2021.

Construction would take place from May to October of 2021 at the same time requests for proposals for a homeless navigation center operator would be circulated.

The goal is to have the center up and running by December 2021.

Meanwhile the county is working on getting an interim solution in place.

It involves operating a warming/cooling center to provide a clean and safe area for the homeless while helping them develop a pathway toward permanent housing, income, healthcare and stability.

Inner City Action that ran two previous successful warming centers did not submit a proposal to operate another interim center nor did anyone else. As a faith-based organized how the rules were written for proposals that were due May 8 precluded Inner City Action.

A revised request for proposals is now circulating with Aug. 7 as a deadline. It would allow the phasing in of services as well as allows religious services as long as there is a separate and equal space available for those that do not want to take part in services.

The Manteca homeless effort

The city is trying to come up with a solution that will meet legal requirements needed to enforce a variety of laws including restricting where the homeless camp or sleep. In order to do so they must have available beds for the unsheltered to use. If the homeless opt not to take advantage of the “beds” and space is still available in the shelter, police can take the appropriate enforcement actions.

At the same time the city wants to get to the root of the problem as to what is preventing people from getting off the street. In doing so they want to provide robust “one stop” services in a bid to get the homeless so they can get off the streets and either support themselves or get the help they need to address addictions and other issues.

The navigation concept is modeled after an approach San Francisco is taking.

Navigation centers provide a wide variety of services including shelter, pet care, harm reduction, meals, and social service connections to clients and provide 24.7 staffing.

The San Francisco Navigation Centers do not accept walk-ins. All individuals and couples who enter are selected by the SF Homeless Outreach Team or a centralized referral system. Because Navigation Centers operate 24/7, there are no lines outside in the evening, and guests are not exited onto the street in the morning.

Basic navigation centers require 20,000 square feet. 

Staff has been operating on the premise space is needed that can accommodate 218 homeless in a sleeping arrangement at one time. That number reflects the point in time homeless census conducted in January 2019. It is the foundation number to comply with court directives.



To contact Dennis Wyatt, email