Potential parking and camping sites identified in Stockton

The city’s ad hoc committee on homelessness will hear about the three potential sites in southeast Stockton at a meeting on Thursday.

STOCKTON, Calif. – City of Stockton staff members have identified three potential sites to use as safe grounds for homeless camping and parking. The city’s ad hoc committee on homelessness will hear information about the identified sites at a meeting Thursday.

At a board meeting in September, board members unanimously approved $1.8 million to be used for safe camping and parking as part of a $12.5 million funding round. dollars for homelessness provided to the city by President Joe Biden’s US bailout.

At the secure sites, which will be fenced, members of the homeless community will be able to camp and park vehicles as well as operate generators.

The sites will be staffed around the clock with three to four staff members per shift. According to the plan, ground safety sites will also include handwashing stations, portable toilets, meals, a pet area with waste bags and visits from county mental health officials twice. per week.

Christina Fugazi, vice chair of the city’s ad hoc committee on homelessness, believes the security sites are a short-term band-aid for the city’s homelessness problem.

“If we plan to create or build more navigation centers or transitional accommodation, it takes time,” Fugazi said. “In the meantime, it’s important that we have a place where people can go, and that they don’t have to worry about violence…”

Plans to open secure camping and parking sites will first be run as a pilot program with a single location before other sites are opened by the city, according to city documents.

City staff members researched and visited safe ground sites in other cities, such as the City of Sacramento’s Safe Ground Program, when developing plans for Stockton sites, according to the city.

Officials reviewed more than 30 potential sites in the city, selecting three finalists who will move on to next steps. All three locations are land owned by the City of Stockton or Caltrans along the highways in southeast Stockton near downtown.

The proposed safe ground sites are at a Caltrans-owned “park and ride” parking lot off Highway 99 along Mariposa Road, a city-owned vacant lot on Myrtle Street off Highway 99, and another vacant land owned by the city at Stanislaus and Lafayette streets. just south of the Crosstown Freeway.

The locations are in predominantly industrial areas, with the exception of the Stanislaus and Lafayette Street site which borders multi-family apartments.

Two of the proposed sites are located in the Fugazi district. According to Fugazi, the location of the sites was expected because most homeless services fall within his district.

“I figured we’d find a spot somewhere in District 5 for temporary, safe camping and safe parking,” Fugazi said. “Homeless people are all over our city, and if we’re able to provide a safe place where we can provide some level of service to individuals, then I think that’s what we should be doing.”

It remains unclear which site will be the first to open as the city’s pilot site. The success of the Safe Ground site will be measured by the number of homeless people moved to shelters, the number of clients being case managed, and the number of on-site service calls according to plan.

The City of Stockton will now review its own sites to identify the cost of installing pavement and utilities. At the Caltrans site, the state agency will conduct an internal review to possibly lend the land to the city. Caltrans’ review is expected to be completed by mid-January.

Fugazi says the timing for opening the first site depends on how much infrastructure the city will need to build around a safe ground location, but hopes it will be soon.

City documents say the city hopes to issue a request for proposals for organizations to provide services at the sites by April.

“We just talked about it,” Fugazi said. “I want us to at least try something.”

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Sally J. Minick