Former Stockton Councilman Proposes Horse Stables as Homeless Housing Solution

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STOCKTON -- The homeless in Stockton stay in tents under bridges and on street corners and now a former city council member is proposing an out-of-the-box solution.

“Each room will be something like 12 by 10, that's 120 square feet. That's larger than one of your bedrooms at your house,” Ralph Lee White, a former Stockton City councilman said.

Inside a horse stable at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds

White wants to turn some 800 horse stables at the San Joaquin County fairgrounds into rooms for the homeless.

“They (were) planning on tearing the down. My thing is why tear them down when we have over a thousand or two thousand people sleeping under the bridges along the highway and all that?” White said.

White shared the letter he sent to the fairgrounds CEO with us last week. In it, he wrote that the stables could provide shelter for more than 1,700 people. Reaction was mixed.

“You're up in a box. You're dead already. Only thing they gotta do is seal it up,” Tim Hill, who is homeless, told FOX40.

“It they fix it up put showers in there and make it livable, it's cool,” Chris Castillo, another homeless man, said.

The reason for White's proposal? He said he knows what it feels like to live on the streets.

“I told you I was homeless one time. Way back in the day so when I drive through that and see all that, that's ridiculous," he said.

The CEO of the fairgrounds told us he has no comment, the board has not made a decision yet.

But what’s clear is if this projects gets approval there’s a lot of work to do to make it habitable. White said the stall can house two to three people but beyond the cosmetic changes that need to happen within this space, there's one that you cannot see and that's the smell. White wants to get rid of hit by installing concrete floors.

White added that he’s willing to invest some of his own money to get the project started. But for some, the streets are where they'd rather stay.

“This is our home, this is the only thing we got. You know what I'm saying? They know us, they know our address. My address right there,” Hill said, pointing to his tent.

White said if he gets the green light for the project he’ll also ask some Stockton business owners to invest. ​