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Mayor no longer supports transitional housing project
amy bublak
Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak

At the April 11, 2023, Turlock City Council meeting, I cast the deciding vote to seek a State of California Homekey grant to build a 50-unit transitional housing complex on South Walnut Road on Turlock’s Westside. 

Transitional housing under California law is temporary housing provided to persons seeking a way out from homelessness. It is often the bridge between a homeless shelter and more permanent housing.

The number of transitional housing units in Turlock is less than optimal and hampers local efforts to assist those who desire to help themselves. This also can lead to persons staying in homeless shelters for longer than they really should when they are prepared to turn their lives around.

Shelter housing for persons ready to move to transitional housing artificially increases the number of shelter beds that must exist for a city to enforce its municipal codes. You can thank the misguided federal courts for handcuffing cities with that requirement.

Contrary to published reports, when I voted to allow the staff to pursue this concept, my vision was that we would be pursuing a facility where families and individuals committed to becoming productive members of society could live for a temporary period.

The expectation for those staying at this transitional facility was that they would agree to work on improving their lives by availing themselves of County social services, stay away from addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs, and abide by other standard good conduct living policies. The promoter and potential developer of the project and staff assured us that those parameters could be met.

My vote was based on the above assurances. Since the proposed location was in Council Member Rebecka Monez’s district, after the Council action,  we sought additional input from concerned citizens, including members of the Kelso family who were most directly affected by the proposed location.

We assured them that we would not support the project if this facility was a new homeless shelter or if it would house persons on a permanent basis.

Since it has turned out that the grant would require the facility to house residents on a permanent basis, I no longer supported pursuing it during the current or future funding cycles. It simply doesn’t meet the vision approved by a majority vote of the City Council. 

Due to those changed conditions, I have asked the City Manager to place on the next Council agenda an item to address this matter.

There is more to do but we should not lose sight that since becoming your Mayor, the City of Turlock has:

     1.  Closed the large homeless encampments.

     2.     Increased Police Department staffing to better address quality of life issues by hiring four new

          Officer positions, and five new Code Enforcement positions along with additional support positions.

3.     Increased Police funding for new technology and equipment to prevent crime and reduce blight in our community.

4.     Funded a pilot program to address the health care needs of those – including the unsheltered - with limited access to medical care to see if that can help reduce homelessness.

Despite the obstacles put in our way by federal courts, I am certain your City Council will continue to find avenues for persons to turn their lives around while also moving towards enforcing laws addressing criminal behavior by individuals that adversely affect the quality of life of law-abiding Turlock residents.