With funding from Gray, Stanislaus County leaders move forward on homelessness plan

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

As excerpted from: The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County leaders OK low-barrier shelter, plus a bold plan to help the homeless

BY KEN CARLSON

February 27, 2018 04:05 PM

County supervisors discussed a broader plan Tuesday developed by representatives of business, nonprofit groups, the faith community, local government and a consulting firm that's donating time to the initiative.

The county will begin a process of finding a location for a 60-bed permanent access center for the homeless, offering services such as case management, substance abuse and mental health services and assistance with legal issues, employment training and job search. In the cold winter months, the center will also direct the homeless to available beds in local shelters.

The permanent center will replace the temporary low-barrier shelter, which would be operated under a three-year nonrenewable lease.

Supervisors gave approval to distribute $2.5 million in state funding secured by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, to the United Way for operating the low-barrier shelter for three years. The Stanislaus Community Foundation has pledged $1 million for building the shelter.

Local groups participating in the permanent access center will need a financing plan for operation and maintenance. Funding could come from private donors, grants and other sources.

David Crotty, senior vice president of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, the Bay Area design firm providing pro bono services to the county, said he believes the plan can be successful in reducing homelessness.

"Some people say this is impossible," Crotty said. "It is, of course, impossible if you don't try."