We Care of Turlock, a homeless service provider, received approval from the Turlock City Council to continue receiving grant funding with a new agreement.
We Care received a Community Development Block Grant when they were providing shelter services at the 400 B St. location. When the Turlock City Council deemed the 400 B St. location to be unsafe and used as a shelter, the We Care Program moved to 213 and 219 S. Broadway. Because of the move, We Care had to have their current agreement changed to say that address and be approved grant funding for operating out of that location.
The Turlock City Council approved the funding but not before some Council Members asked tough questions that ultimately led to a more intense form of identification stipulation.
Council Member Ted Howze was concerned with the fact that public money may be used to house criminals. Howze was asking is there anyway to reject those criminals if public money was funding the shelter and how would We Care or the Turlock Police know who was staying at the shelter.
We Care’s Maris Sturtevant stated that this she didn’t believe this agreement change should involve considering to fund or now to not fund the shelter efforts. The $20,000 CDGB funding is necessary to finance sheltering around 25-25 men only and through March 31, 2009.
We Care has been faxing over a list of people staying at the shelter to the Turlock Police Department but people were not required to have or show any form of identification. Some Council Members wanted a form of identification needed to stay at the shelter. Another concern was if there was a felon sex offender staying there, would the service provider be able to do something about it once they did find out?
Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton confirmed the police department has been receiving faxes naming the people staying at the shelter and after 8 days no false identities have come up. Chief Hampton also said that they have an agreement to go into the facility at any time to check whatever they need to and have been assured access to We Care files containing much personal information of people staying there.
Requiring an ID involves providing a birth certificate, paying $26, and may take around a month. Many homeless people do not have ID.
Maris Sturtevant stated they know most of the people and have been around Turlock for years. She expressed her concern about providing an ID because many don’t have them.
Sturtevant stated that the shelter as within 2000 feet of a park so sex offenders would be violating their parole if they did stay at the shelter. If their names checked out from the police as someone violating their parole, the police could come arrest them. This would be a police enforcement issue.
Councilwoman Amy Bublak suggested besides their full names and date of birth, that the shelter require getting people’s height, weight, and eye color.
With these provisions to try to secure the community’s safety, the shelter’s $20,000 CDBG funding was approved 5-0 by the Turlock City Council.