Turlock City News

Turlock City News

Turlock Gospel Mission Lease Extended; Council to Talk Denair Park Homeless Issues

David Fransen|

The Turlock City Council agreed to extend a local homeless center's lease on Tuesday, but for less time than requested after nearby residents voiced concerns.

For the past two years, the Turlock Gospel Mission has operated its Homeless Assistance Ministry center in the City of Turlock's Youth Center, located at 1030 East Ave. The center offers local homeless people a place to go during the day – and an opportunity to turn their lives around. Tens of people have gotten jobs and permanent housing as a result of the center.

But when TGM first opened the center, nearby residents were assured the lease was only temporary. The mission would relocate, Turlockers were told, once TGM could construct a permanent facility of its own.

As TGM's two-year lease was due for renewal this week, some nearby residents contacted Turlock City Councilmember Amy Bublak to voice their concerns with the apparent lack of progress on a permanent site. They feared that the HAM center may become a permanent fixture at 1030 East Ave.

“I want to know that they're doing something,” Bublak said, summarizing constituents' comments. “They said they were going to leave, but they haven't.”

Bublak commended TGM for being good neighbors and keeping up the property, noting her comments were “not about shutting (Turlock Gospel Mission) down and closing the doors.” She said she wanted to show constituents that both the city and TGM were being responsible, and that the mission was working toward a permanent facility.

Turlock Gospel Mission is actively pursing the development of a full-time shelter, board member Chris Kiriakou said, on a TGM-owned lot at 437 S. Broadway. The mission has spent about one-third of the funds needed to complete engineering work, needed prior to obtaining city building permits.

But the community-funded TGM lacks funding to complete engineering work at the moment, as donations trail off during the summer months. Currently, the mission is struggling just to keep the doors open.

“That's really the issue,” Kiriakou said.

Councilmembers agreed with both sides of the issue: residents deserve updates, and the Turlock Gospel Mission needs some certainty that it will be allowed to continue operations.

“I think the neighbors do want some sense of progress, and they do want some time-line that will be adhered to,” said Councilmember Steven Nascimento.

As a compromise, the mission's lease was extended for one year rather than the two requested. Should the mission need to operate for a fourth year in the Turlock Youth Center site, it would need to seek council permission.

The updated lease also reflects improvements TGM has made to the facility, the value of which will be offset against lease payments.

The TGM lease is just one of many issues related to homelessness affecting the community, Turlock Mayor John Lazar said. And the chronic presence of homeless individuals living in Denair Park warrants council attention, he said.

“I think it's about time we had that discussion at the council level,” Lazar said, “because I continue to get contacted about the loitering that goes on at that park. It's unacceptable. It's gone on too long.”

The Turlock City Council is expected to discuss the Denair Park situation during a September meeting.

Comments 10

  1. Beth Meyer Kirkpatrick says:


  2. mike says:

    The Turlock City Council is expected to discuss the Denair Park situation during a September meeting. Ill believe it when I see it! I own a business on East main st. near this park. The park is saturated with all kinds of homeless folks. Our business revenue has dropped by 30 to 40 % in the last couple of years because of this. We have addressed the issue many times and never even got an inkling of some kind of resolution from the city. They sleep/stay there all night (if they sleep) , there are no RESTROOMS so they go into the ally ways to go to the bathroom, they often do drugs right out in the open and when you call police they just say what would you like us to do. The crime in downtown has gone up 100%. Our business has had its windows broken out, doors kicked etc.. If they don’t find a resolution soon maybe its time to obtain legal council and try to recoup all of our lost revenues and damages from the city. I am not hating on the homeless and agree they need a place to stay but they need facilities and places to sleep like in the shelters not a city park with no bathrooms.

  3. mike says:

    Where is my post!

  4. Sara says:

    Not everything can be blamed on the homeless. If the Council would have thought about getting a shelter together a few years ago like they were supposed to do then perhaps they wouldn’t be hanging around the park. Maybe business has dropped because of the financial situation of the country rather than the homeless. Turlock needs to find a better solution for the homeless rather than just sweeping the problem under the rug. It doesn’t matter where the shelter goes, no one is going to be happy about it. But it has to go somewhere so that the people who are homeless have a place to go so that they can get back on their feet.

  5. Lisa says:

    “I think it’s about time we had that discussion at the council level,” Lazar said, “because I continue to get contacted about the loitering that goes on at that park. It’s unacceptable. It’s gone on too long.” My question is, What are they hurting? Where else can they go? These are human beings, less fortunate yea, but never the less human. They are unacceptable? Pretty sure that is what most of them have heard probably from childhood. I don’t know what the solution is but I do know that treating them like they are piles of dog poop in the park, THAT is unacceptable!!!

  6. Brandi says:

    Has anybody ever asked the homeless why they hang at the park?? Because they would tell u that if the “ham ” center wasn’t ran the way it has been and staff there actually offered everybody real help instead of incriminating,discriminating,”playing favortism, enabaling homelessness, and causing continious conflict instead of solutions with its clients..Well maybe the city needs to survey reach out to the homeless at the park and get their oponions and veiws about why they hang at the park and not at the “ham ” I garentee it would open up a lot of eyes..Thank You..

  7. Be Gone Homeless says:

    The Homeless issue is because of the free services provided by Turlock entities. Ask any homeless person why they traveled to Turlock and their reply is, “the free services”. Put an end to free breakfasts, showers, lunches, recreation, computer access, medical and dental services and nightly lodging and then you will see an exodus of the “homeless” to other compassionate cities. These people are homeless by choice. Offer them a job and they laugh at you and say no. Give them a meal instead of a dollar bill and watch them fly into a rage. Many “homeless” receive $1,105.00 a month disability checks for being alcoholics or drug addicts, $400.00 a month E.B.T. credit cards for food or other incidental purchases and other monetary stipends for living needs including the free Obamaphone, Let the City of Turlock place an ordinance against cit wide pan handling with $250.00 fines progressing up to $1,000.00 for each occurrence and watch the homeless disappear either by laws or warrants. Just stand up and say no to the idle and lazy and the burglars and thieves.

  8. SO Sick of the BUMS we're leaving! says:

    We are a local business that is situated near two of the most ruined parks in Turlock, Broadway & Denair. Both Ruined by the homeless, that is. They dumpster dive, loiter & panhandle on our property & we have to remove the same people DAILY. They damage property, scare off our customers, steal our power & water & vandalize us with graffiti & their daily waste. They steal our copper wire & other metal fixtures which we have to spend thousands per year replacing. They also use our building walls as urinals & the backs of our buildings as flop houses & brothels. Yes, we have seen these people attempting sexual encounters on our property in midday. These people are homeless, drugged out, scummy & just plain crazy BY CHOICE. They are belligerent when you ask them to leave & they have threatened me & my business partner with violence multiple times, even telling my business partner they were plotting to kill us. They force us to call the cops & overload our local resources. I no longer care if they have no where to go. They are ruining our city, our quality of life, interfering with our livelihood & threatening our safety. If we have to pack up & take our business & tax dollars elsewhere, we will do so, because no one in Turlock government seems to care to address the issue of the criminal & badly behaved homeless. They’d just rather force us to endure them.

  9. Human says:

    I am sorry but these are human beings we are talking about.. Taking away food, showers and anything else is just inhumane. Most of the homeless have grown up in a house where there parents either didn’t care to take care of them or were using drugs. It is hard to break a family cycle because it is all that some of them know. What if you grew up where no one wanted you… And to bash on the local services is wrong because they are changing lives just by talking/ excepting them as a human. Also about the parks they go there because a lot of local churches give them lunch there but I am sure that if those church were willing to partner with TGM, they would not refuse the donations of meals for the homeless that go there. It would cut down on trash and traffic at the parks.

    Also there needs to be a shelter somewhere in Turlock. I think that people who think that if we get one then the homeless community will be larger in Turlock but they are wrong because they will be at the shelter and not on the streets. Modesto, Merced, and Fresno all have local shelters, it really says something about how a community can come together and help the homeless. Everything now a days cost a lot of money if you don’t like were TGM is located then donate money so they can move. Nuff Said.

  10. guest says:

    With all the energy they have cycling all over town day and night, they should use some of it and make themselves useful, their is plenty of trash to be picked up along side the roadways.

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