Homeless Options in Turlock

The Turlock Redevelopment Agency (Turlock City Council Members) approved an agreement with Community Housing and Shelter Services, a Modesto based non-profit, to provide motel vouchers and counseling services to homeless families in Turlock.
The voucher and counseling program will cost $68,543 for the year. Redevelopment Agency funds will be used from the Housing Set Aside fund.
The Community Housing and Shelter Services (CHSS) have been serving about 100 Turlock families through the program but will now be funded to increase their concentration on Turlock. They will have a Turlock office rented from the United Samaritans Foundation located on Broadway Avenue. The office will be open from Monday through Friday.
CHSS will solely offer motel vouchers to families who have the ability to find permanent housing. The program eligibility requires that families must provide verifiable income and a picture ID along with having the motivation to make the transition into a permanent housing situation.
The program will offer motel vouchers that last an average of seven days.
The CHSS program assigns a caseworker to help families on their way into a permanent housing situation. Families are also required to attend workshops dealing with housing searches and money management.
We Care, a nonprofit that ran the city shelter at 400 B St., has plans to open a shelter to open on December 1, 2008 through March 1, 2009. The length of provided shelter will depend on funding.
We Care will be providing service to the more general population. The CHSS program will only be offering shelter and services to families who can show they are able to transition into a permanent housing situation.
We Care will be offering shelter during the cold months that the majority of homeless will be eligible for. That population consists of 31 to 50 year old males with no job, no family or friends, and a criminal history with roots in Turlock. The Center for Public Policy Studies at CSUS conducted a study on homelessness in Turlock and identified this as a major segment of the homeless population.
The Turlock Gospel Mission also has a roving shelter program that will start in December and hopes to provide services through April, if funding is available. There are several churches that will be taking turns providing shelter for an estimated 30 women and children. The churches will provide shelter for one week at a time. The male population will not be cared for through the Turlock Gospel Mission’s program.
With increased foreclosures and a rising 11.7 percent unemployment rate in Stanislaus County, a week in a motel, a money management workshop, and emergency cold weather shelter for 30-75 homeless people does not look accommodating.
This is what the community is trying to deal with as they work with the direction set forth by the Turlock City Council.
Councilman Howze has stated that the City of Turlock should not be in the homeless shelter business and does not want a public shelter.
Councilman Spycher has also stated that the temperatures in Turlock do not warrant an “emergency cold weather” shelter as he goes out in shorts during the winter.
Vice Mayor Vander Weide, who served in his last meeting Tuesday night, has stated that everyone can make choices to help themselves out of the homeless situation if they want to. However, Vander Weide has been a major proponent for a faith-based homeless program, specifically the Turlock Gospel Mission.

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