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HEAP funds could be re-distributed to fund Turlock's homeless day center remodel
TGM day center
The Turlock City Council will consider allocating more funds to complete the rehabilitation project of the Turlock Gospel Mission’s day center (Journal file photo).

The Turlock City Council will consider a motion on Tuesday to divert $92,000 originally allocated to a remodeling project on the dining room at We Care and transfer it to Turlock Gospel Mission's rehabilitation project of the day center.

The money is part of the Homeless Emergency Aid Programs funds of $585,000 allocated to Turlock from the $7.2 million granted to Stanislaus County HEAP is a $500 million block grant program through the state designed to provide direct assistance to cities, counties, and Continuums of Care to address homelessness. Funds can be used for services, rental assistance or subsidies and capital improvements. With interest, the fund is now at $600,942.

In December 2019, the Turlock City Council opted to use the money on three projects. One would be a remodeling of the dining facility at We Care; the second was to remodel the day center operated by TGM; and the third would be to fund a pilot program that would provide storage for homeless individuals utilizing shelter options.

At the time the two remodeling projects were estimated to cost around $250,000 each.

"As the scopes of work for the two remodel projects progressed, it became clear that the amount of funds needed was going to far exceed the amounts allocated," city staff wrote in the City Council report.

We Care was a melding of two older modular buildings and it was found to not be cost-effective to remodel. Rather, a better option was a new construction project that would not only provide for a new dining facility, but would also allow for additional shelter beds on a second floor. However, new construction is not an eligible expense under HEAP, according to the city report. The City of Turlock will still help with the expenses for design, lead and asbestos abatement and other pre-development costs. This will total $38, 414, leaving $92,000 available to transfer to the day center project.

The day center remodel estimate came in at more than $400,000, but after some prioritizing TGM was able to get it down to $300,000 with a 10 percent contingency. The scope of work will include bringing the building into code compliance, ADA standards, a fire sprinkler system and bathrooms that have access from outside the building when the day center is closed. The day center is expected to re-open in the summer.

If the motion is approved it will not have a fiscal impact on the city because the funds come from HEAP and have already been allocated.

The Turlock City Council also is expected to take action on three other issues related to the city local homeless emergency declaration. One will reimburse TGM for the expense of additional shelter space at the Stanislaus Fairgrounds. The second formalizes an agreement with the city and the Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services for the outreach efforts being done during the homeless encampment visits and clean ups.

The final action is a memorandum of understanding between the City of Turlock and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. Currently, in some parts of Turlock that are county islands or areas outside the city limits, specific Turlock municipal code violations cannot be enforced by Turlock police officers. Under the agreement the sheriff's department could enforce a Turlock municipal code within 1,000 feet of the city boundary.

"Participating in this agreement would close the gap when enforcement of a particular ordinance is the best possible method of addressing nuisance behavior," city staff wrote in the report.