TRACY, Calif. — The City of Tracy is preparing their next steps after getting more than $3.6 million for a temporary homeless shelter.
The emergency housing facility, a first for the city of Tracy, is aimed at supporting the city’s homeless population with emergency housing and case management services, officials said in a press release on Wednesday.
The site will be located on Arbor Avenue, between MacArthur Drive and Holly Drive.
“This comes down to a crisis of conscience," said Councilman Dan Arriola. "You know, these are some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and we need to make sure that we're addressing their needs. And so, this is what I want to say... it's not quite the first step. We've had quite a few steps, but this is a huge opportunity and step to finally begin to address the issue."
Speaking with ABC10, Arriola explains what people should know about the project.
The following interview was edited for brevity.
What happened recently regarding the shelter project?
"(The) City of Tracy was incredibly lucky that we received $3.6 million from the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, ultimately being able to completely fund the city's first ever temporary homeless shelter."
Homelessness isn't new. Why is this the city's first shelter?
“I think there's a pretty complex answer to that. And I think I think what it comes down to ultimately is that the issue with homelessness did not happen overnight. That's not going to be solved overnight. And in the city of Tracy, we've had a few prior shelters. However, they weren't public shelters, and there was extremely long wait lists. And I think, in addressing this issue, we were faced with particular challenges, you know, be they political, economic, legal. There's been quite a few barriers in the way to getting us to the moment where we are now where we're incredibly excited to move forward.”
What comes next for the project?
“What comes next is actually building, so we're really excited. It looks like we're gonna be able to be completed with people in our shelter by early 2022. We were hoping to do it sooner than that. But again, it just kind of took time. The one location that we had was in Tracy public land that was undeveloped, so right now, we're working on getting the infrastructure because you can't just place a shelter there. We need to make sure there's access to water and sewage and all the types of things that we need. We want to make sure it's done correctly, so it looks like as of right now, it's going to be done in early 2022.”
How many beds will this shelter have at full buildout?
“This is going to be ultimately essentially a two to three stage project in the same location... Stage one is going to hold approximately 65 individuals. But what our whole purpose behind this is that this is truly supposed to be an emergency housing option. So, what we want to do is not only have this be housing project, there's also going to be services. There's going to be access to addiction services, mental health services, job training services. They're on site. So with me, the whole point is to get people in, give them the services, they need to transition them out into a middle term option and, hopefully, long term options after that."
Any last comments?
"I think that this is, while this is a huge step there, there's still a lot of work to be done. We're really proud of the partnerships that we have with our community-based groups and law enforcement groups. One of the next big steps we're going to be having next month is our first ever faith-based organization roundtable on homelessness. We're looking to people who are already working on this issue, getting them in the same room, saying, 'what kind of services do you provide,' making sure there's not overlap, identifying the gaps, and really trying to secure a solid portfolio of services, if you will, to make sure that all needs can be met here in a centralized location. This is a very exciting time for us. We're really looking forward to moving moving forward."