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Container home project on the chopping block
homeless container homes project 2
The Turlock City Council will consider dropping a plan to build a 50 container-home facility on S. Walnut Road to house homeless veterans and senior citizens (Photo contributed).

The Turlock City Council will consider at their next meeting scrapping a plan to build a new transitional housing project for homeless families, homeless veterans and senior citizens.

In April, the Council approved partnering with Custom Containers 915 to develop the transitional housing project that would have seen 45 studio apartments and five one-bedroom apartments built on 2.5 acres of City-owned land located at 701 S. Walnut Rd.

The City had planned to apply for state housing funds under Homekey to finance the development and pursue tenant-based Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) vouchers in order to fund the operating cost of the project.

According to the Council agenda item prepared by Turlock Development Services Director Katie Quintero and Risk Management Director Paul Loehr, a determination was made that a majority of the housing units being built would have to be designated as permeant housing, instead of being solely transitional housing, in order for the City to receive sufficient funding. This was “contrary to the vision of the City as expressed in its April approval.”

On Tuesday, the Council is also expected to:

— Consider awarding a bid to Bobo Construction Inc. of Elk Grove, California for the construction of the Columbia Pool Improvements. The Council will also consider appropriating $1.36 million from Cannabis funds, $923,756 from the Capital Improvement account Construction Repairs/Improvements unallocated reserves, and $805,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Columbia Pool Improvement project. To date, before Tuesday’s appropriation, over $6.9 million has been allocated to the pool project that will see demolition of the existing facility and installation of a new pool, concession building, storage building, restrooms and pump and chemical room building.

— Consider approving the 2022-2023 annual report for the Community Development Block Grant Program and HOME Investment Partnership Program. The City is required to submit a report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the accomplishments and progress make towards fulfilling the goals of the adopted Consolidated Plan.

The City's Consolidated Plan identifies as high priority needs: Public infrastructure, Affordable Housing, Public Services, Community Emergency Responses  and Homeless services. Consistent with the priorities outlined in the Consolidated Plan, during the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the City undertook the following activities:

· The City continued to administer a First Time Home Buyers Program for low-income first-time homebuyers which provides low interest loans to qualified clients. The program is funded with HOME, CalHome, State Home, and CDBG. Unfortunately, during this current year, neither Turlock nor its Consortium members assisted any income eligible homebuyers. This was due to the low housing inventory and the high cost of housing in Stanislaus County, the annual expected progress toward the program goal was not reached. Staff is currently re-evaluating the structure of the First Time Home Buyer Program to determine if the criteria can be updated to make the program more viable.

· The City acquired one property, developed with two single family homes and worked with an outside agency to house two Veteran, income eligible families in each house.

· The City closed out the rehabilitation of one single family home purchased by the City previously. The house is currently occupied by an income eligible family.

· The City continued offering a Housing Rehabilitation Program for both owner and renter occupied homes, for the repair of homes within the City and assisted income eligible clients including the elderly, handicapped and other special needs populations to improve housing conditions. The City offered loans and grants to maintain single and multifamily affordable housing stock. During this past fiscal year, the department provided one combined grant and loan to one resident.

· The City continued offering Public Service grants to assist agencies to provide assistance to low- and moderate-income persons who are in need of services such as food, shelter, and youth services. Seven Public Service grants were awarded to qualifying non-profit agencies. A total of $65,800.25 was expended and a total of 773 unduplicated clients were served. The agencies provided services that were consistent with the goals and objectives of the Consolidated Plan and served low/moderate income households/persons in Turlock. Services included a shelter for homeless adult men, senior meals, emergency food boxes, youth recreation, homeless youth outreach and senior eye care.

— Consider allocating $50,000 of Transient Occupancy Tax funds to the Community Grant Program to award 12 organizations grants for 18 local events. The Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission scored the requests for Community Grant Program funding and has recommended the Council approve the following awards:

·         Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association — $3,000 for Turlock Sip & Stroll

·         Turlock Downtown Business Owners Committee — $16,200 for Downtown Trick or Treat, Downtown Turlock Pot of Gold Scavenger Hunt, Spring Salebration, Mother’s Day Event, Block Party and Shop the Blocks

·         Carnegie Arts Center — $5,500 for 2024 Annual Block Party and 2024 Art of Design Home and Garden Tour

·         Turlock Chaplaincy Inc. — $3,000 for annual Fun Run

·         The Market Turlock — $6,000 for The Market and The Holiday Market

·         Turlock Chamber of Commerce — $2,400 for Ag in the Valley

·         Kappa Sigma Fraternity — $3,000 for Military Heroes Car Show

·         Kiwanis of Greater Turlock — $2,500 for Kiwanis 5K Fun Run

·         Walnut PTO — $3,000 for Community Carnival

·         Love Turlock — $3,000 for Love Turlock

·         Phi Sigma Sigma — $2,400 for Easter Egg Hunt at Stanislaus State

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. The meeting is open to the public.