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Tiny homes or tents? Turlock looks at solutions to growing homeless population

In a public forum Wednesday in Turlock City Hall, the public was invited to share their ideas on what to do with the estimated 250 people who are homeless.

TURLOCK, California — Along D Street in Turlock, Tiffany Rasnick and her dog have called a tent home for the past year.

"It's rough, stressful," said Rasnick.

Homeless 21 years, she said a more secure environment would be much better than what she has now.

"More permanent, you don't have to move so much. Probably be less mess," added Rasnick.

In a public forum Wednesday in Turlock City Hall, the public was invited to share their ideas on what to do with the estimated 250 people who are homeless. On the table, the idea of providing a temporary emergency shelter in the form of tents or tiny homes with money provided by the state through Stanislaus County.

RELATED: California Senate approves homelessness, housing bill

"Right now, we're looking for the community to tell us what they do and do not want to see in the city. What kinds of rules and regulations with whatever facility comes about," said Turlock City Councilmember Andrew Nosrati.

Michael Camara is president of the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association. He said providing help to the homeless suffering from drug addiction or mental illness should be top priority before housing.

"If you do not approach those issues first then you're simply providing a place, a safe harbor for these people," said Camara.

But some homeless advocates ABC10 spoke to are not so thrilled about having tents set up for the homeless. More than two months ago, David Fransen helped start a cleanup program in the city, with homeless people doing the work for free. In turn, several employers have reached out and given them paid jobs.

Fransen told ABC10 he is for tiny homes and against tents.

"Just the mention of a tent city three weeks ago brought in approximately 40 new faces of homeless people," said Fransen, a Turlock community advocate. "If we are able to get 20 or 30 tiny homes and help the 20 or 30 people who have shown and are literally begging for help, and trying to work themselves out of it, if we can help 30 people off the street that would be more than Turlock  has done in the entire decade."

READ ALSO: Sacramento County homelessness up 19 percent, echoing large increases statewide

Mike Hogan has been homeless on the streets in Turlock for a year. Hogan, who one day would like to be a cook in a restaurant, said he is skeptical tents or tiny homes will go up in the city.

"I won't believe it till I see it," Hogan said.

No locations have been selected for housing. Nosrati said all public locations will be looked at as possible locations. He added he doesn't see a time limit for how long one person would stay at the shelter and said it all should depend on each individual.

The full city council will take up the ideas suggested on Wednesday at their next meeting set for July 23.

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WATCH ALSO: Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg comments on Sacramento County's 19-percent rise in homelessness

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