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RESCUE MISSION
Faith-based coalition seeks affordable housing for homeless
Homeless rain DSC 2759 LT

A group of local faith-based organizations and homeless advocates have taken the first step towards crafting a resolution to what has become a growing community issue.
On Tuesday, a group calling itself the Manteca Gospel Rescue Mission – spearheaded by local pastor Tim Welsh – informed the Manteca City Council that they were looking into ways to bring true affordable housing options to those in the community that are currently without a place to live.
While the matter has grown contentious at times and has helped make the city infamous on the internet after a homeless advocacy group began a campaign against the city and its moves towards stemming the tide, Welsh was calm and collected in his delivery and focused solely on promoting the group’s goal of providing options to those who desperately need it.
The group’s mission statement calls for people “to see a movement of God in the Manteca community and surrounding areas resulting in the creation, restoration and rehabilitation of hearts and lives through God’s power. We hope to see God destroy animosity in the community and in its place build up a spirit of love and self-sacrifice.”
A website outlines a relatively blank template and its first official meeting was held only on Nov. 30.
Other speakers were pointed in their comments.
Local homeless advocate Sharon Herrera, who retired from San Joaquin County after being in charge of the general assistance program which helps the homeless and those on the street, said that the housing section of the city’s general plan clearly outlines that options need to exist for homeless individuals.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin said that the city will have to look specifically at the passages that were mentioned before commenting on them. A previous speaker outlined several segments and the language that he felt showed Manteca’s obligation to get involved.
Homelessness and its apparent rise forced the city council, after strong public outcry, to call for a summit held last month where local businesses, social workers and even the homeless themselves could speak on the issue so that information could be gathered and utilized to determine on how best to provide services.
The meeting, while at times tense, ended with the consensus that the issue is one that will take not just the city or its resources – namely, the police department – to solve but a coalition that includes non-profits, churches and the generosity of people that some feel have helped the problem flourish as word spreads among the homeless population that Manteca is a place with a heart. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.