Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
This letter is in response to Saturday’s article about the point-in-time homeless count that is conducted in San Joaquin County each year. This count is conducted countywide to include the unincorporated area, Lodi, Stockton, Manteca, Tracy, Ripon, Lathrop and Escalon. It is required by the combined Consolidated Action Plan that is a joint venture of San Joaquin County and each of the cities involved in the count and required in order for the cities and County to continue receiving the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Grant Programs totaling $3,363,297 for the 2014-2015 Federal Fiscal Year.
San Joaquin County has been a HUD program entitlement community since 1985. In the years since, a point-in-time homeless count has been conducted yearly. This count is completed by government agencies, law enforcement personnel from cities and the County Sheriff, non-profit organizations and volunteers. It includes, not only the homeless population with no place to sleep at night, but people who are staying in shelters, such as Manteca’s Raymus House and HOPE Family Shelter. It is important to be as accurate as possible in counting the homeless population in each city, in order for cities to continue receiving a portion of the grant funds available to assist in running shelters and providing other important services, as well as for obtaining funding for specific city projects. Manteca could even apply for future funding, based upon its count, to renovate a building in order to open a new shelter for our currently un-served homeless population, single adult males and females.
Police Chief Nick Obligacion was quoted \as stating that money from HUD Federal grants does not currently go to provide services in Manteca. However, Manteca is slated to receive money from these grants according to the draft 2014-15 Consolidated Action Plan (as it has in past years). This Fiscal year’s total allocation from CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) for the City of Manteca is listed as $345,492. Over half of this allocation is listed for a Lincoln Park Picnic Area Renovation; nearly $75,000 of it is allocated for Downtown Parking Lot Improvements; and the remainder is to be allocated in differing much smaller amounts to Meals on Wheels, Second Harvest Food Bank, Love INC, Women’s Center Youth and Family Services, DRAIL Home Accessibility Program, Emergency Food Bank Mobile Farmer’s Market, Boys & Girls Club of Manteca, CDBG Administration, HOPE Interfaith Ministries/Raymus House, San Joaquin Fair Housing Services, City of Manteca Youth Scholarship Program, Give Every Child A Chance and Friday Unity Night in the Neighborhood (F.U.N.). An additional $82,682 is allocated from the HOME Allocation Grant for the HOME Housing Rehabilitation Program.
Obtaining an accurate count of our homeless population is important. It could assist in an increase to our County’s overall grants allocation. It could also provide an opportunity to apply for future funds in order to open a shelter or transitional housing facility for our homeless residents who are currently residing on the streets.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,