Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The “homeless” situation in Manteca is not a police action matter; it is a nationwide cry for help that in our case, is seeking a City Council solution. Simply passing the buck to the Police Chief, issuing tickets to people that have no money, or moving the homeless from one neighbor to another (or to another community) is not a solution. It would seem the Council is hoping the homeless will simply go away if they are harassed sufficiently.
In this case, the homeless are individuals seeking security, a place to sleep, and an occasional meal. Manteca does not presently have any facilities that directly provide for these three elements, as such the homeless must do what they can to survive. That is why they camp out in Library Park, along the Tidewater Bikeway, under the 120 Bypass/Moffat overpass, behind store dumpsters, in the shrubs behind the library, use store restrooms, steal, and so on.
There are as many reasons why these people find themselves in their current situation, as there are sides to the debate of how to resolve the problem. The City Council’s usual response is however not a solution (nor was it when the subject surfaced previously.)
A proper response to Manteca’s situation would be to develop a facility where the homeless can find some degree of security, a place to sleep and shower, have occasional meals, and be easily managed in an organized environment. There are plenty of vacant industrial type buildings that can be retrofitted with federal, state, private, and city funding resources, and a number of local nonprofit organizations that can work with the City to supply and manage the facility. We can even fold a recycling center into the facility to nominally defer some costs.
Turning a blind eye, passing the buck, or hoping “they” go away, is not a solution.