Tracy City Council Launches $900,000 Emergency Homeless Housing Development

September 2, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Map of the proposed site

The Tracy city council voted Tuesday to construct emergency homeless housing on a site on Arbor road, outlined in red.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

The Tracy City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to construct temporary housing for homeless individuals on an unused plot at 500 Arbor Road. The site could begin to receive people as early as December. The designation of the housing area was one of the goals set by the city’s Homelessness Strategic Plan, which was adopted back in May.

Almost $900,000 have been designated for the project, including $690,000 from city housing funds, $100,000 from the city’s yearly Community Development Block Grant, and $109,000 from CARES Act funding. It is estimated preparing the site alone will cost $400,000 for utilities, road repairs, and other services. The actual costs for construction of structures, furnishings, and operation have not yet been determined. The city hopes to obtain additional funding through services such as the Homeless Housing Assistance Prevention Program.

The housing area would consist of roughly 3,800 square feet split among four shelter units, according to proposed plans for the site. Additional structural and electrical information still has to be finalized, but the construction contract could be awarded as early as October, with ground broken in November according to Assistant City Manager Midori Lichtwardt. Beginning construction at a later date could significantly set back the site’s completion due to issues with weather.

Mayor Robert Rickman and Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Young also addressed complaints about the issue of homelessness within Tracy public spaces and parks. “At the end of the day, it’s either this or allow individuals to be in our parks. I think that’s a no-brainer. But at the end of the day… you have to make sure, somehow, we’re getting mental health and substance abuse treatment, too.”, said Rickman. Other goals of Tracy’s strategic plan refer to the kind of programs and support services that he described, but they have not been widely acted on yet.

It was not specified how or if the site would be equipped to deal with COVID-19 among the homeless population. There is no telling what the case numbers will be once the shelter opens, which is projected to happen in December. While specific numbers are hard to come by in Tracy and San Joaquin, the pandemic has certainly put many more individuals at risk of eviction because of mass layoffs or furloughs.