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Summer party nets $14,000 for HOPE Shelters
Toni Marie Raymus mingling with guests. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The homeless in Manteca aren’t – for the vast majority – drug abusers or lazy.

They are families that are often gainfully employed working 40 hours earning between $9 and $11 an hour.

So why are they homeless? Often times one spouse loses their job and can’t afford the rent or else they have a major financial problem such a serious illness.

Now, the No. 1 reason, are families who get kicked out because homes they were renting have gone in foreclosure. In such cases they don’t get their deposit back.

To rent a decent two-bedroom apartment they can afford that costs $750 to $800, they need to come up with $1,500 to $1700 upfront. It’s the kind of money they simply can’t produce overnight making $11 an hour with a three to four member household.

They typically end up going to a low-end motel where they can rent a room for $350 a week because they don’t need to put down a deposit.

Those who attended a summer party this past week at the home of Andrew Sephos and Toni Raymus understand all too well the plight of Manteca’s homeless.

Altogether, 110 people contributed a combined $14,000 to help the HOPE Family Shelters. It comes just over a week after youngsters participating in the Kids in a Box raised $3,000.

“It’s an awesome boost for us,” said HOPE Ministries Executive Director Dave Thompson.

There are three homeless complexes operated by HOPE Ministries – a family shelter, a mother and children’s shelter, and a transitional living shelter.

The first two shelters essentially are emergency shelters that HOPE Ministries get as many as a dozen or so inquiries a day to see if there is space.

Families – when they can get in – have two months of rent free living. During that time, a vast majority of families cobble together the money and get a place of their own. It is a success rate underscored by the fact 80 percent plus of the shelter’s clients end up finding a place they can afford to rent and end up no longer being homeless.

Thompson said the homeless in Manteca typically aren’t on the streets looking for handouts or are on drugs or have a drinking problem. They usually are working families that got caught in a situation where they needed to move only to find out they can get needed deposits back due to the foreclosure mess.

HOPE Ministries started 18 years ago
HOPE Ministries was started 18 years ago. The original family shelter at Yosemite and Sequoia in the original Manteca Hospital building that was later converted into an apartment complex later accommodates six families. The Raymus House – a former rest home on South Union Road that the Raymus family rents to HOPE Ministries for $1 a year – accommodates nine single moms and their children. There is also a six unit transitional housing complex near Doctors Hospital where families can stay up to two years and pay 30 percent of their income in rent.

The three shelters served 108 families last year that included 226 children. The shelter doesn’t keep a “waiting list” per se but they do field 20 to 40 calls a day from people looking for shelter.

HOPE Ministries is getting by with $150,000 although they budgeted $168,000 to operate the three shelters. They cut back on staff and some assistance programs for clients. They also pared back external efforts such as providing emergency food for the needy or helping with part of a month’s rent payment when a family incurs an emergency expense so it can help avoid them from becoming homeless.

The state cut funding back to zero but in an ironic twist the federal government increased some of its funding since San Joaquin County has been hit so hard by foreclosures. As a result, just under $50,000 comes from emergency grants to help the homeless that also includes $7,600 in pass through federal government Community Block Grant funds divided up by the Manteca City Council.

The remaining $100,000 comes from individuals, churches and businesses in Manteca.

For more information or how you can help contact Thompson at 824-0658.