Lodi’s Committee on Homelessness met in the Rick Cromwell Community Room on Thursday afternoon to discuss possible housing locations for the HEAP grant housing project.

The Committee on Homelessness is looking at 19 possible locations to create a housing complex of tiny homes in an effort to get people off the street and transition them back into long-term housing while freeing up more space in local shelters.

Vacant lots near Pine Street, Main Street, Sacramento Street, Lockeford Street, Elm Street, School Street, and Cherokee Lane are being considered.

“We are looking at more properties that are on parcels of property that are not near existing housing subdivisions,” Lodi City Manager Steve Schwabauer said. “We understand that people’s property values can be affected by the housing complex and we are looking at every viable option to purchase an empty lot.”

Lodi received $1.25 million in funding from California’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program, known as HEAP. The state provided $500 million in one-time-use grants for cities throughout California as they mobilize to tackle homelessness. Last December, it was announced that San Joaquin County received $7 million in funds.

Funding was determined based on a 2017 point-in-time count, which identified 567 unsheltered homeless individuals in San Joaquin County at that time.

Lodi’s Committee on Homelessness decided to use the grant funds to create a subsidized housing complex of tiny homes that would be eligible to people in sober living programs.

Under the stipulations laid out in the HEAP grant the city is required to construct a new dwelling to be eligible for funding.

There will be five prefabricated homes that will be built off-site and transported to a designated location.

“Each housing unit will cost $80,000,” Schwabauer said.

The Housing Authority of San Joaquin will manage the properties and provide landscape maintenance to preserve their aesthetic appearance, according to Peter Ragsdale, executive director at Housing Authority of San Joaquin County.

“The homes will be about 420 to 450 square feet. They are about the same room as a studio apartment,” Ragsdale said.

Housing will be reserved for residents who have demonstrated progress towards rehabilitation. The city hopes that by transitioning people into homes more space will be freed up at shelters such as the Salvation Army.

The occupants of the homes will be required to pay rent, which will be a subsidized portion of their income.

Although the program will not directly take people off of the street, it offers an avenue for people working towards getting off of the street permanently.

“We looked at low-barrier shelter options, which is a building with bunk beds that allows unsheltered individuals to have a place to stay at night, but the city does not have the manpower to become a property manager,” Schwabauer said.

Instead, the city and the Committee on Homelessness are seeking to provide a permanent solution for people who are in programs that are making strides towards a better future.

If the city were to create a low-barrier shelter it would assume finical obligations of the shelter. Through the subsidized housing individuals living in the homes are responsible for the cost of their utilities.

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