Manteca City Council approves emergency warming center in empty parking lot

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MANTECA, Calif. (KTXL) -- An emergency ordinance was approved Tuesday by the Manteca City Council and a temporary warming center will be built for the estimated 218 homeless people in the city.

Most days 555 Industrial Park Drive is an empty parking lot. But when the days and nights begin to freeze empty stalls set up there may be a welcome respite for the hundreds of homeless in Manteca.

“Need to deal with the issue,” said Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu. “Homeless are here, they’ve always been here and they’ve been ignored for too long.”

Mayor Cantu said the City Council unanimously approved the emergency ordinance that will allow the nonprofit organization Inner City Action Inc. to run a temporary warming center.

“We’ll set up 120 by 80 tent,” said Pastor Frank Saldana, the CEO and founder of Inner City Action. “We’ll provide showers. Provide three meals a day.”

Saldana said it will cost about $80,000 to run. The city has agreed to invest about $25,000. They will also rely on private donations to help run the temporary warming center.

Pastor Toby Payan said the result will be priceless.

“The main focus is on the people,” he told FOX40. “We’re here for the people, we’re here to help people.”

He said he used to be homeless and understands how rough the streets can be.

“Break into places just trying to get shelter,” Payan explained. “When there’s no shelter you’re gonna do whatever you can to keep yourself warm.”

He said having a warm bed and access to basic needs may help change a person’s life.

Once the tents are up and running each one will be warm inside. There will be food and, most importantly, there will be resources.

“Work and partner together with all different resources to try to see if we can get them off the streets,” Saldana said.

At least one Manteca man, retired firefighter Felix Diaz, has pledged to volunteer his time in the parking lot turned provisional home.

“Just a lot of sadness in this world right now and I just want to bring some kind of happiness and be helpful,” Diaz told FOX40.

Pastor Saldana said the temporary warming center should be up early next week and will be taken down in March of next year.

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