STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – In his first State of the City address Thursday, Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln highlighted the progress the city has made during his first months in office and laid out plans for addressing some of the city’s biggest problems including COVID-19 recovery, crime and homelessness.
“Over 80% of Stockton residents view homelessness as a humanitarian crisis affecting the quality of life for all Stocktonians,” Lincoln said.
According to Lincoln, in 2019 there were more than 900 people experiencing homelessness in the city and more than two-thirds were also suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues.
“In a small concentration downtown, we have a serious problem, homeless problem like a mini Skid Row,” Gospel Center Rescue Mission of Stockton CEO Wayne Richardson said.
Richardson works with the homeless every day and says the city needs more affordable housing.
During his speech, Lincoln highlighted the city’s progress, addressing homelessness this year as well as securing millions of dollars in funding to support different projects and homeless advocacy organizations.
“The biggest impact has been collaboration,” Richardson said. “We are working together more closely with the city with the county with other nonprofit providers with other cities helping each other out.”
But Lincoln acknowledged there’s more work to do and said the city will take bold and actionable steps to address the root causes of homelessness.
“We will expand low-barrier shelter capacity, invest in homelessness prevention and diversion, and improve and expand coordinated outreach and engagement,” Lincoln said. “The demand for these elements has never been greater than it is today.”
Lincoln said in order to see the change residents all want, the city will need community input and support.