Loan for shelter a great compromise
Apr 19, 2012 | 1035 views | 1 1 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Homelessness may not seem to be a major problem in Patterson at first glance, but look closely, and one will find dozens of people who live on the streets or “couch surf” from house to house.

For the past three years, the group Helping Others Sleep Tonight has assisted many of those residents, and it’s wonderful to see the city help the group by offering a 15-year loan to acquire the former Foothill Manor building as a homeless shelter.

It’s clear that the agreement reached this week meets both the concerns of HOST and city staff.

City officials wanted to make sure HOST would be financially capable of running the facility and they did not want the city to bear any liability regarding the homeless shelter and its operations.

On the other hand, HOST wanted to move forward on securing the building soon, as it had an option on the property and did not want to keep the owner waiting. In addition, the issues of homelessness in Patterson have not gone away, and a new facility would help improve the group’s efforts to help those who are struggling. Temporary winter shelters set up in residential areas have worked well, but a more permanent fix is needed.

It’s wonderful to see the hard work and creativity that both the HOST board and city staff put into this agreement. It’s also heartening to hear ongoing discussions about attempts to obtain alternative funding sources for the project, such as developer fees available for low-income housing, grant money and money held by Patterson’s former redevelopment agency, if it becomes available.

The city is wise to pursue this resolution to a critical community problem. The vast majority of the people that HOST assists are West Side residents. Patterson has a homegrown homelessness problem, and it requires a homegrown solution.

The acquisition of the former Foothill Manor building will be a positive step in that direction.

• As a note of disclosure, the editor of this publication is a volunteer with HOST and has helped with fundraisers for the organization in the past.

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stealthcat
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April 24, 2012
"Homelessness may not seem to be a major problem in Patterson at first glance, but look closely, and one will find dozens of people who live on the streets or “couch surf” from house to house."

Really? I've never seen anyone in Patterson I thought was homeless. Usually it's pretty obvious when you see a homeless person by their appearance. Guess I just thought that was how the typical person downtown in Patterson looked. Just about anyone walking around downtown could be viewed as a homeless person.



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