Modesto officials will get an update Tuesday on plans to open a one-stop center and a low-barrier shelter for the homeless.
Both projects are taking more time than expected. The center – where the homeless could access a range of services – could open in March, and the low-barrier shelter – which, unlike traditional shelters, accepts couples and pets – could open in summer.
Those target dates are a few months later than what officials originally projected. Ruben Imperial with the Stanislaus County chief executive’s office said these are the first projects of their kind in the county and involve working with many partners and have lots of moving parts.
He stressed the current timelines for the projects’ opening could change as more details are worked out. And he stressed that both projects still need approvals from the City Council and county Board of Supervisors.
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These two efforts are pilot programs and part of Focus on Prevention, a communitywide initiative the county launched about 20 months ago to find lasting solutions to homelessness. The city is working with the county and other Focus on Prevention members on these projects.
Imperial and city officials will discuss the projects with council members at a workshop after Tuesday’s council meeting. The council also is scheduled to meet in closed session to discuss property leases for the projects.
The plan is for both facilities to be next to the Salvation Army’s Haig and Isabel Berberian Shelter and Transitional Living Center at Ninth and D streets, near downtown.
The one-stop center, which officials are calling a homeless access center, would be housed in a modular office building that officials have said the county has been leasing. The city would purchase the building, move it to its new location, and do the site work needed to open it.
The council has allocated $250,000 in federal funding for this project. City officials have said they may ask the council to allocate as much as $100,000 more in federal funding. The county would lease the building from the city. County agencies and other agencies that help the homeless would staff the center.
The low-barrier shelter would consist of 20 converted sheds, each with two beds. The shelter would be on Salvation Army land that the city would lease from the nonprofit at a nominal amount.
Imperial said the current plan calls for the county to provide the funding to get the shelter built with the city serving as the project manager. The county also would provide the funding to operate the shelter for three years.
A sticking point has been finding a nonprofit to operate the shelter. The Salvation Army and the Modesto Gospel Mission have declined. Officials with the two agencies have said while they see the need for a low-barrier shelter, it does not fit with what they do.
The goal is to have the homeless at the low-barrier shelter use the access center so they can move on to the next step in their lives and out of homelessness. Those steps could be finding work, getting treatment for mental illness or moving into permanent housing. The low-barrier shelter is envisioned to serve the chronically homeless living on the streets and in city parks.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316