A report compiled by the California State University, Stanislaus Center for Public Policy Studies for the City of Turlock on the community's homeless population and services includes a number of recommendations that can serve as a roadmap for possible solutions to a growing social issue in Turlock.
Titled "Community Inquiry: Homeless Shelter in Turlock," the extensive report was compiled during a year-long process by CSU Stanislaus Professors Dr. John Garcia and Dr. Kelvin Jasek-Rysdahl, co-directors of the Center for Public Policy Studies. Their study was commissioned in May 2006 by the Turlock City Council with the goal of drafting a plan for Turlock to deal with the complex homeless issue. Garcia and Jasek-Rysdahl presented the report to the City Council during a September 17 meeting.
"Projects like this one, which gather and analyze valuable research information on crucial public issues, demonstrate the commitment of CSU Stanislaus to this region," University Provost William Covino said. "The Center for Public Policy Studies is one of the many initiatives through which our University and our distinguished faculty members provide expertise that serves communities throughout the Central Valley."
A proposed $2.9 million Shelter and Resource Center project was put on hold by the City Council in 2006 to allow for more study of the issue, prompting the homelessness study by the University Center for Public Policy Studies.
A $600,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that was secured by the CSU Stanislaus Center for Service Learning in 2005 has gone toward development of the Resource Center in partnership with a number of other public and private agencies.
The Turlock City Council agreed with a recommendation from the Center for Public Policy Studies report by approving the proposal that an "Action Committee" be established made up of a diverse group of people. The panel will be responsible for developing a strategic plan that maps out a system of services to move people out of homelessness. The report also concludes that there is a role for a homeless shelter in the community, but that it must be embedded in a system of services that helps move people into permanent housing. It calls for a collaboration that brings business owners, faith-based organizations, service providers, city staff, homeless individuals, and others together to move the city to the next level of response.
"This is a very sensitive and emotionally-charged issue that has affected many in the community," Jasek-Rysdahl said. "The objective of the project was to provide better information to the City Council and community to help guide decisions regarding solutions to the problems of homelessness."
Garcia said the research process for the report, which brought many people representing many different interests and perspectives together, was made possible by dedicated members of the community who have demonstrated sincere concern about the homeless issue.
A complete copy of the report is available on the University website at: http://web.csustan.edu/cpps/.