Possible SCAP closure worries social service providers

kvaline@modbee.comFebruary 2, 2012 

The announcement that a troubled Modesto nonprofit agency that works with the homeless could disband raised concerns among social service providers Thursday.

A slim majority of the Stanislaus Community Assistance Project’s board of directors voted Wednesday night to disband the agency and transfer its programs to another nonprofit group within six months. SCAP provides permanent housing and supportive services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

Several organizations recognized the importance of continuing these services, but it may take time before a game plan is put together.

“It’s too early to tell,” said Cindy Duenas, executive director of the Center for Human Services, in an e-mail. “(CHS) would need a great deal more information before taking something like that on.”

The center would need to consider if such a project is within the scope of the agency’s mission statement and whether it has the capacity to provide these services, she wrote via e-mail.

It’s not even clear SCAP will dissolve. The vote to disband was divided. But one thing that’s clear is social service providers said SCAP provides critical services for a vulnerable population.

“It’s important that we keep that supportive housing in this community,” said Michele Gonzales, a deputy director for the cq--name Housing Authority of the County of Stanislaus.

She also is a member of the Stanislaus Housing & Support Services Collaborative, a coalition of nonprofits, government agencies and faith-based groups that help the homeless.

Gonzales and others are optimistic that collaborative members would step forward to take on SCAP’s programs if it were to disband. But she added that would require the approval of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds many of SCAP’s programs.

Gonzales estimates there are about a half-dozen nonprofit groups in the collaborative that could take on some of SCAP’s programs. She declined to name them because she was not speaking on their behalf.

Pam Esparza, president of the collaborative’s executive committee, said it’s critical to keep the programs SCAP offers. “There a lot of people who rely on this housing,” said Esparza, a manager with Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “I hope it would not go away. I definitely would like to see other nonprofits absorb those programs. Supportive housing is very critical. It keeps people off the streets.”

Like Gonzales, Esparza said she is speaking only for herself and not on behalf of the collaborative.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service