Stockton prepares more wintertime shelter beds for homeless

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) -- Winter is coming and with it so is the need for more shelters for Stockton’s homeless population.

“We need at least three times more emergency shelter beds than we currently have if we’re going to meet the need that we see,” San Joaquin County Continuum of Care Chairman Jon Mendelson said.

Tuesday night, Mendelson presented a plan to the City Council to expand the number of winter emergency shelter beds.

“With wintertime approaching, we know there is a possible humanitarian crisis if we don’t do something to try to get more people off the streets and out of the elements,” Mendelson said.

The group initially asked the City Council for $450,000 to cover the costs of adding up to 100 more beds, providing three meals a day and adding more staffing at two different shelter locations.

“We can’t do everything but we have to do something,” Mayor Michael Tubbs said.

Tubbs and the City Council approved giving the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless and the Gospel Center Rescue Mission $100,000 each for the extra beds that will be available from December to March.

“It’s cold. Folks need shelter now. So, we decided that we’ll allocate dollars that we have now to help folks with immediate needs,” Tubbs said.

Currently, there are only 600 shelter beds within Stockton but a recent survey counted more than 1,600 homeless in the city.

Mendelson and Tubbs agree, while 100 beds aren’t nearly enough, it’s a step in the right direction.

“There’s no easy fixes. There’s not one solution," Mendelson said. "A tent city is not going to fix it, creating a camping site is not going to fix it and this $200,000 isn’t going to fix it. But if we continue to chip away each and every day, we’ll get closer to the solution we deserve for homelessness.”

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