The Stockton Shelter for the Homeless Navigation Center just received a fresh infusion of cash as officials hope to be able to finish construction next spring.
California state Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman presented a check for $1 millio to help with construction of the project at a brief ceremony held during a light rain shower Tuesday morning at the shelter.
Eggman (D-Stockton) secured the additional funding from the State’s 2022-23 budget, which will be put toward the $6-million construction cost of the shelter’s new navigation center, a key component in addressing homelessness in Stockton and San Joaquin County.
“Today was about recognizing one more piece of the puzzle to help those in need,” Eggman said. “This navigation center will help people get back on their feet and regain dignity and access to places to shelter.”
The 180-bed, 11,000 square-foot, three-story navigation center will be located on the grounds of the shelter beneath the Interstate 5 and Highway 4 overpasses. It will include a reception area, offices, drop-in center, isolation area, laundry facilities and dormitories for men, couples and families. Wraparound support services will also be available, and the center will be open and staffed 24 hours a day.
Residents live onsite and are not required to wait in line for bed space or leave during the day. They will also be allowed to bring in their partners, dogs and possessions, which in the past has not always been allowed and served as a barrier to many seeking shelter.
Eggman is a longtime proponent of the project.
During her tenure in the state Assembly she authored Assembly Bill 2629, which eliminated lease renewal restrictions in the air space where the Stockton Shelter and St. Mary’s Dining Hall reside.
Previously, the law restricted the air space in the area owned by Caltrans, which made it impossible for the nonprofits to build permanent structures.
This time Eggman helped by going to the state for a financial boost.
“If it was not for the senator being able to obtain this additional $1 million for Stockton Shelter, it would be extremely difficult to get this project across the finish line,” Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln said. “We’re extremely grateful and thankful for the senator’s continued work and advocacy for San Joaquin County and Stockton.”
When the project broke ground in June, there was hope for a January opening. Shelter officials are now estimating the center could be completed by April or May.
Eggman says such delays are not unexpected.
“None of these projects are easy,” she said. “They take pulling dollars from multiple places, and then working with the city and the county for permitting. So the process is never as quick as you want, but it takes the planning and tenacity to actually bring it to fruition. I’m pleased with where they are now.”
John Alita, the shelter’s interim chief executive officer, said all of the money raised so far will go to construction.
“The next hurdle for us is to make sure we have enough funding to operate the navigation center,” Alita said. “Some of that money will hopefully be in grants from federal and state and local (levels), and we will work more with our donor base to grow that to make sure we have the funds we need.”