Tuolumne County government leaders are exploring options to deal with homelessness in the county other than the High School Road accommodation site for up to 70 people they examined southwest of downtown town of Jamestown, Tracie Riggs, the county administrative officer, said this week.
When asked if the Jamestown site was a done deal, Riggs said the Board of Supervisors had recently asked county staff to “continue to investigate the Jamestown site, but they weren’t ready to move forward until we have sufficient grant funds and have paid all costs.”
County staff are continuing to work to get final numbers, Riggs said. She pointed out that county staff helping with the process also work for the county’s facilities management department and the county’s community development department. They have full time jobs and projects they are working on aside from homelessness issues in the county.
“So we’re doing our best to incorporate that into whatever they’re working on,” Riggs said. “And, the board has made it clear they don’t want to rush. They are OK if it takes until next spring.
The county considered using Pallet-branded prefabricated cabins for the High School Road site. Pallet brand prefab cabins should not be confused with homeless shelters built with real wooden pallets. Seven trailers and a tent at the Jamestown site could provide additional temporary accommodation.
Asked what it would cost the county to hire a contractor to provide security and other duties at the Jamestown site, Riggs replied that Michael Roberson, the county’s homeless services coordinator, recently gave an estimate of $5,000 per day for site management which would include “24/7 presence, security and two meals a day.
The county received only one response to a request for bids, and the rate Roberson quoted was $60 to $70 per day per person, Riggs said.
“Multiply that by a maximum capacity of 70 people and that’s about $5,000 a day,” Riggs said.
That’s why county staff told council they would relaunch the tender, Riggs said.
However, Riggs added, after county staff added up the cost of two years of site management and the cost of site preparation, Roberson came to Riggs to say he would like to explore other more permanent options. in addition to finalizing cost estimates for the Jamestown. to place. Riggs told Roberson she fully supports the idea.
Asked what alternatives to the Jamestown site the county is considering, Riggs said county staff are considering “more permanent options, such as buying an older hotel, an apartment building or even houses “.
The county is also focusing on a proposed navigation hub, listed in the County Commission on Homelessness’ 2022 goals – a physical structure where those who are not housed are connected to services and support for housing, “which would also provide shelter beds,” Riggs said. .
Riggs said a house that has many bedrooms or an old hotel that could be renovated and converted into studio apartments and affordable housing is possible. When asked what type of home and former hotels the county was considering, Riggs replied, “It depends on what’s available.”
This week, county staff took to public social media to invite leaders of faith-based organizations and congregations to a 90-minute in-person roundtable on Wednesday to talk about how faith-based organizations in Tuolumne County can come together. to address homelessness issues. .
“Homelessness is complicated, and the solutions are complicated too,” county staff said in a published event for the roundtable. “Faith-based organizations have a vital role to play in helping to alleviate the suffering experienced by homeless people.”
Riggs later told The Union Democrat that the church group’s meeting would not be open to the public or the media. Asked Friday how many people attended Wednesday’s roundtable with faith group leaders, Roberson did not respond by the deadline for that report.
The county government’s only homelessness-related business scheduled for the County Board of Supervisors’ next meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4, is to consider appointing a District 3 representative to the county’s homelessness commission. homeless, with a term expiring April 6. 2023.
The next public meetings of the County Commission on Homelessness are scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, October 13; 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 10; and 9 a.m. on Friday, December 9. Commission meetings are held at the same location as public meetings of the Board of Supervisors, on the fourth floor of 2 S. Green St.