Although housing increases have been minimal since the town of Turlock declared homelessness a local emergency, the action is still proving effective as authorities continue to provide services to homeless people across town.
The city council first ratified the local state of emergency in March and it lasted four months. While large camps across the city were successfully dismantled by public safety officials during this period, 200 additional beds at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds were not used. A second local emergency was ratified in July, which shifted attention to helping those left homeless by reallocating unspent funds from the original proclamation to be used on the issue in the future.
By declaring a local emergency, the City can obtain additional resources, establish an immediate plan and respond quickly to emergencies. Councilor Andrew Nosrati has consistently voted ‘no’ on continuing the local emergency at recent council meetings, removing the item from the consent calendar to express concern about what is really being done to help the homeless .
“I don’t think we are approaching it at a pace that I think is an emergency proclamation,” Nosrati said at Tuesday’s meeting. “These are not the resources that I think are justified to move forward… I just hope we will do it with a higher level of urgency and with more resources within our city. “
Currently, the City continues to rent space for accommodation beds at the fairgrounds until September 2022 at a cost of $ 1,000 per month. City attorney George Petrulakis told the Journal that providing an adequate number of beds for Turlock’s total homeless population is an important aspect of the city’s long-term plan, which is being developed. by the Council’s ad hoc homeless committee chaired by Council Member Rebecka Monez and Deputy Mayor Pam Franco.
Although the extra beds have yet to be used, Turlock Police Department captain Steven Williams explained on Tuesday how the statement benefited homeless people in the city through services rather than shelters. , as was originally planned.
In collaboration with various local agencies, the DPT documented contacts with 143 homeless people and offered service opportunities since the start of the emergency. In total, the agencies established 257 unique contacts with homeless people.
“While there is still work to be done, there have been successes. There are continued successes, not just at the beginning, ”said Williams. “As we continue with the process, these successes have continued.”
As recently as last week, TPD and other agencies hired 19 people in a single day. Of the 19 homeless people contacted, eight of them accepted services: two for assistance with vital documents, two for public benefits, one for social security and disability services, one for medical services and two for mental health services.
“While there may or may not be, depending on the day of the week and the week of the month, an increase in the number of homeless people we want to see, there are all these other services that these people are finally accepting thanks to to repeated contact. over and over again, ”Williams said. “It’s an ongoing awareness… Through the efforts of the staff and the partnership with allied agencies, we are having an impact and there is still a lot of work to be done. “
In addition to sheltering at the Turlock Gospel Mission and We Care, individuals can escape the cold at Roger K. Hall Transit Center, 1418 N. Golden State Blvd., which will be used as a warm-up center from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Seven days a week. Night time warm-up centers are Turlock Gospel Mission, 437 S. Broadway, and We Care, 221 S. Broadway, 6 pm to 6 am seven days a week.