Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Thanks for your column pushing for bathrooms for the homeless in Thursday’s paper. You made some very good points. I do think that they a need a place to shower and wash their clothing also.
I read the follow-up article on the situation in San Diego this morning, describing how that city is erecting tents to house the homeless as part of the solution to the public health crisis in their community. I’m not sure that our officials are ready to go that far since we are, fortunately, not yet in the same position that San Diego finds itself in. But you did point out how homeless persons are currently using restroom facilities around town when they can gain access, and I know that they also use the senior center regularly. So the city is, like it or not, already providing them access to conveniences and accommodations. A day center isn’t such a radical solution after all when you consider the extent to which the city is already involved.
I think that your idea for a day center has real possibilities. It seems to me that the city could make arrangements with the owners of any of the boarded up businesses downtown or elsewhere around town to use those properties without having to commit to spending a fortune on the project. With winter coming, it would give Officer Kelly and his partner CRO a base to work out of. He has done more to reach out to the city’s homeless population and make a positive difference in their lives than anyone else that I’m aware of, and is clearly the expert on this subject. I think that it would be interesting to hear what he thinks about all of this. Perhaps you could interview him.