STOCKTON, Calif — 11 pre-manufactured homes have been built for the homeless in South Stockton.
Called Turnpike Commons, the $4 million project was funded with HEAP or Homeless Emergency Aid Program funds from the state, as well as a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Stockton and a grant from Wells Fargo Bank.
The Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin, Stockton low income housing non-profit S.T.A.N.D., Central Valley Low Income Housing Corp. and Stockton Shelter for the Homeless collaborated to make the project on Turnpike Road happen.
"Development capacity at my agency, we have case management and others. We have rental support. I mean, it's the partnership that really makes this work," said Peter Ragsdale, executive director for Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin.
The units range from 480 to 889 square feet. They each have a full kitchen, full bath with a stackable washer and dryer as well as one, two or three bedrooms.
"For some of the units, it's just being literally homeless, so these are people living on the streets, in cars or in one of our local shelters. Stockton Shelter for the Homeless right now is taking families that are living there at the shelter and moving them into these units," said Jon Mendelson, director for the Central Valley Low Income Housing Corporation.
The new housing also frees up space for other homeless families at the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless.
"We've been able to move five or six more families into the shelter. So for us when we saw the need and were approached, it was a matter of needing an exit avenue for our families who are getting backed up at the shelter," said JoLyn McMillan, chief executive officer Stockton Shelter for the Homeless.
69-year old Linda James has lived in a one-bedroom home at Turnpike Commons for less than a month. She had been homeless, living in a van with a boyfriend in Downtown Stockton for two years. When she had enough, a niece got her help.
Now, she has a new place to call her own and is no longer looking over her shoulder on the streets.
"You feel safe. You're safe. You can lock the door," said James.
Tenants pay no more than 30% of their income to rent. But, rent is also covered by vouchers from the Housing Authority of San Joaquin County.
"I think it proves the model that if we intentionally collaborate to build more housing we will," Ragsdale added.
Homeless advocates hope to create more of these projects in the future.
Photos: An inside look at the Turnpike Commons in Stockton