Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer Jody Hayes and I are pleased to announce a proposal for the next phase of Modesto's short-term homeless stabilization plan. On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors and the Modesto City Council will vote on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which establishes a creative arrangement between our two jurisdictions and the Salvation Army aimed at increasing the transitional housing beds available to those experiencing homelessness in the Modesto community.
The proposed MOU, another first of its kind in addressing homelessness, seeks to add 180 additional beds to those existing – roughly 150 – at the Salvation Army shelter on 9th and D Streets in downtown Modesto. As part of the MOU, the county will lease space from the Salvation Army to provide these high-access shelter beds, and will lease space from the city for the one-stop Access Center. As a partner in the MOU, the city will be making substantial infrastructure improvements to the facility, including to Salvation Army’s sewer and water lines, and parking lots. The city will also enter into a no-cost lease with Salvation Army to expand its footprint into an adjacent lot.
Government alone is not the solution to the homeless crisis, and we must rely on other public and private partners in bringing resources to the table.
Several private organizations have partnered with the county and city on this project, and have pledged financial resources to improving the Salvation Army facility. Stanislaus Food Products, Beard Land Improvement Company, and E. and J. Gallo Winery have expressed their commitment to meeting the needs of this critical population.
My colleague, Bill Hudelson, Stanislaus Food Products Chief Financial Officer, said it best,
“If you don’t start trying, you’re never going to get anywhere."
With this MOU, the city and county have reaffirmed our dedication to the overall strategies of the Focus on Prevention program and, specifically, breaking the cycle of homelessness. Salvation Army provides for the transitional housing needs of those who will one day need to leave the emergency shelter tents under the 9th Street Bridge before finding permanent housing.
In the four months after Beard Brook Park was opened to camping:
- Over 400 homeless individuals called Beard Brook Park their temporary home;
- 69 received at least one supportive service;
- 43 received assistance with social service benefits;
- 14 received assistance from the Homeless Court Program to help resolve charges against them;
- 36 were placed in an emergency shelter; and
- 24 were placed in transitional, rapid, or permanent supportive housing.
I'm excited to share this news with you, and I will share more about our overall plan in the coming months, as we strive to provide more long-term solutions to homelessness.