California needs affordable housing now, but no one should be led into thinking affordable housing will bring a solution to the state’s widespread homelessness. We need affordable housing because even working people with good jobs have been priced out of California’s housing market.
A great many homeless people, on the other hand, can’t work due to disability, mental or physical illness, or because they’re elderly and their retirement incomes are too low to meet fundamental costs of living, especially rent. Through no fault of their own, many are dependent on failed systems of care, especially health care.
Affordable housing in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the more affordable regions of California, can cost anywhere from just under $200,000 per unit up to $400,000 per unit to build. In Modesto, the Archway Commons affordable housing project will ultimately feature 150 units; it is now in Phase II.
The project was proposed in 2008; Phase I was completed in 2014. Phase II will be finished by next year. Obviously, the lag time for affordable housing makes it an inappropriate tactic for reducing homeless numbers, and the expense makes it cost-prohibitive. Phase II of the Archway Commons complex is projected to come in at a total cost of $30.7 million for 76 units, over $400,000 per unit.
Even container-built housing and tiny homes are costly. The City of Turlock recently approved 50 container-built apartments for homeless people at a cost of just under $10 million, or roughly $200,000 each. The decision to build the apartments was highly controversial, with some Turlock City Councilmembers and members of the public opposing the project because of the high cost per unit.
Rather than commit to costly housing that takes years to complete, state and local officials should be supporting transitional housing and shelter options that can be implemented within weeks or months, including permitted parking and camp sites, Pallet Shelters, Dignity Moves communities, Conestoga Huts and other serviceable and inexpensive accommodations that come in at $35,000 per unit or even much less.
In a Catch-22 ruling, California Governor Gavin Newsom has called for cities to show results on homelessness before qualifying for state funding. The catch is that few cities have near enough funding to reduce homelessness and, in any case, Newsom has always been vague about what he means by “results.” Smart cities will devise plans for reducing homelessness that feature effective, inexpensive, and timely housing/shelter options.
Recent admissions by local officials that they are overwhelmed by homelessness and lack sufficient funds to reduce the manifold harms it brings offer a flicker of hope that California may finally end years of denial about homelessness and finally face uncomfortable realities. Homelessness is a growing humanitarian crisis that cannot be met with traditional housing options, including “affordable” housing.
There are multiple reasons for homelessness, and multiple needs among the homeless population. The one common and urgent need is for a safe place to rest and recover. Transitional housing and shelter options offer the fastest and least expensive tactic to reduce homelessness and provide the one fundamental service all homeless people need now, a safe space they can call their own.
It’s a lot worse than this…
I’m a man who is disabled with a 2 year old..who is eligible for a housing voucher…and the promises are made over and over from programs like illumination foundation for 2 years that never help….always inciting another excuse…and in the end saying living between motels and hotels is not considered homeless…knowing motels and hotels cost more than a 100 dollars a night and a person such as myself and my daughter on only welfare and disability can only pay for 2 weeks at the most per month…where is all this help and money going to…it’s all politics and has nothing to do with helping families find permanent housing…so they’re not on the street
My story reflects my experience in Orange county California
Eric Caine says
Robert: You are not alone; many people have been waiting years for promised housing and have endured the same merry-go-round of excuses and referrals as you have.
Cathy Heap says
Eric, I agree with you 1000% indeed correct and they need to get their act together NOW AND STOP MESSING AROUND WITH US houseless people .
Cathy Heap says
I totally agree with you 1000% they definitely definitely do not care about helping us HOUSELESS PEOPLE AND THEIR FURBABIES AND THOSE HOUSELESS who do not have any FURBABIES at all, the city of Turlock and Modesto what to use the money from the governor of California for themselves, only
I’m a 62 yo female and had to leave a home with two people to a bedroom in a 4 bedroom house…they began adding more people to the rooms and then the thefts began. I got out of there and began living in my car. I signed up for HOP Outreach program in Long Beach and was gratefully met by a caseworker whom came to me and helped with any documentation I may have needed. Also I had been on HCLB wait-list since 2016 but always told I don’t qualify for any open programs. Now I was being offered and getting all the forms sent in for EMERGENCY HOUSING VOUCHER PROGAM and I willingly waited and also looked for any private programs to help me find a safe place to live. I was broken into and items stolen from my car. I was attacked and hurt and stalked and began living fearfully with a major depression sinking in…but had EHV PROGRAM to look forward to and I kept going on. On March 4tb 2023 my case worker called me and told me the EHV PROGRAM had been suspended sin e January. What??!! It was to be good until September 2023. But NO… and NO PROGRAM TO REPLACE IT …HOW AND WHY DID THIS HAPPEN??? NO ANSWERS FROM ANYONE…we all got dumped and ignored and not cared about, nothing !!
It’s not right or fair….it’s disrespectful, we got thrown away with not apologies or promises…we got NOTHING. We deserve SOMETHING!!
Geri Wells says
I feel at a loss for words. The government got the funding for housing and I see nothing to help my homeless friends. There should be people in housing NOW not 6 months from now and they should be looking into creative solutions to solve this problem we need creative and proactive people planning things out and accomplishing getting people into housing these people shouldn’t have to die waiting for promises that aren’t being kept. I got lucky last year God got me inside why can’t the state get these people in housing like they promised? I have many ideas please let me help
Marguerite Harkins says
I hate to say it, but after trying to help a homeless family with a diabetic child who required chilled insulin when 105 degrees outside, I was stunned and nauseated by the response. I think, sadly, the majority of wealthy people just want homeless folks to dissapear into for profit prisons. That way they are Invisible, and someone makes $$ off of their suffering. They only care about how it looks, and not paying taxes.
carey barton says
I totally 💯 agree❗It is ’bout politics. We’re being lied 2. With all the $ money giving out here n there. Ud think u would c a Positive from it somewhere ⁉️ Nope not around here. Here is San Diego County.
I became homeless almost 7 years ago because I developed severe carpal tunnel in both hands and required 3 separate surgeries. I was evicted and basically lost everything. My credit went to sh*t as well which should be no surprise. Having zero income puts you in a bad place. After all these years simply surviving what is worse than anyone with a home could ever imagine, I was blessed with a housing voucher. So why am I still homeless, being denied housing because of my credit score and the eviction that put me on the streets so long ago? I’m 51 and this life is killing me. Never in a million years did I think this would happen let alone go on for so long. I’ve tried to get into shelters, but I have ties to Fullerton, not Santa Ana and the available beds in Fullerton have been set aside for Santa Ana residents. I don’t have ties to Santa Ana and therefore don’t qualify. How is anyone supposed to be able to put their life back together without a safe place to sleep and shower? Somewhere to keep your things where they won’t be stolen? Our system is so broken and the media puts out lies to undermine the problem. It’s insanity. People with a home assume an addiction made us homeless, but I started self medicating because I couldn’t handle being homeless. The streets are vicious.
LOU VALERO says
AMERICAN COMPASSION IS AT A TRAGIC LOW, IN A DEEP MORAL DUMP.
Isn’t that true local, state and federal governments!?! SEE WHAT YOU DID!
In UNSETTLING practical terms, much of the $billions claimed to be FOR the people with limited incomes, who end up WITHOUT homes, TURNS OUT to be NOT “for persons of limited income” AT ALL, but for the POVERTY INDUSTRY—thus far, for bureaucrats, caseworkers, service providers, and a grab-bag of vendors in the private sector, who are SUPPOSED TO assess, plan, implement, and evaluate SOCIAL PROBLEMS, while CONTRACTED with the GOVERNMENT.
Even the money that does TRICKLE down to the STREETS does NOT go to people below the poverty line or at the poverty line, BUT to persons with incomes considerably ABOVE it. They getting paid.
ALL of these constituencies would, and do, BLOCK any attempt to CASH OUT the current programs, to, INSTEAD, write monthly checks to poor people, or rental owners, that would END this living HELL known as POVERTY and HOMELESSNESS.
We MUST come FACE TO FACE with the DEEPER QUESTIONS about, THE POOR, COMPASSION, and the missing MORALITY of government and NIMBY characters. They know WHO they are.
WHAT CAN WE, THE POOR AND THOSE SLIPPING INTO POVERTY, DO TO MAKE THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN A NEEDLESS,
ILLEGITIMATE CONDITION? IT COMES DOWN TO US.
I READ EACH OF YOUR HELL-LIKE PLIGHTS, IN YOUR REPLIES. THANK YOU. PLEASE KEEP SHARING HERE.
PLEASE, ALSO, SHARE WHAT IDEAS YOU HAVE THAT MIGHT POSSIBLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE. LIKE A BRAINSTORMING SESSION, ALL IDEAS ARE WELCOME. WE HAVE PARTS OF THE ANSWERS. THE SUM IS GREATER THAN THE PARTS.
IF NOTHING YET COMES UP IN YOUR THOUGHTS THAT’S OKAY, TOO. WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT WE SHARE OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER, INCLUDING, GETTING GRIPES OFF OUR SHOULDERS.
WE NEED ONE ANOTHER, TO KNOW WE ARE BEING UNDERSTOOD. WE ARE NOT ALONE, AS ERIC CAINE EXPRESSED TO ROBERT, AND HIS 2 YEAR OLD, ABOVE.
KEEP ON…KEEPING YOUR THOUGHTS COMING IN THIS DIRECTION. LOVE TO ALL…
Lou, here’s something to think about, stated pretty clearly in this quote:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
― Frederick Douglass
LOU VALERO says
I HEAR YOU, FRANK!
Frederick Douglass, ought to have known “this” subject matter, well.
WE ARE LIKE MINDED PEOPLE.
My mind continues to think of all the ways to best gather the masses in each and every locality.
BLANKET the gov’t with DEMANDING VOICES.
I have heard many say: “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!!!!!!!!”
WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING? IT MUST START GOING WHERE YOU CLAIM IT IS EARMARKED TO GO. NOW!!!!!!!!
STRAIGHT OUT OF THE POCKETS OF SELF-INTERESTED GOVERNMENT. NOW!!!!!!!!
TO NEW BEGINNINGS!!!!!!!!
Laura Ashley says
I honestly believe that the government doesn’t want to end homelessness. With 64+ million dollars coming in every year (every 12 months) why would they want that to stop? They move the funding around and spend it on beautifying neighborhoods. They spend millions on temporary solutions instead of a permanent shelters. If the people complain, they come up with a pacifier for the public to look like they are doing something. Their priorities are all out order. The local govt programs claim that they are CHANGING LUVES, the federal govt demands HOUSING FIRST, well the first priority should be to SAVE LIVES first and to do that. Get them indoors now The state was so unprepared for this last winters storms and homeless people died or suffered through it waiting for help. It is time for the govt to treat this like a crisis that needs immediate attention. Here in Sacramento there are 1200+ children living outdoors. Stop building sports arenas and beautifying parks etc until you take care of the people that are waiting and waiting for your help.
LOU VALERO says
LAURA ASLEY, spoken like a very DISSATISFIED CITIZEN. Keep on…keep voicing your opinions…
It is also time for something that has yet to happen…
It is time for US TO TREAT THIS AS THE HUMAN CRISIS IT IS, that NEEDS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.
IT IS TIME…
I CANNOT EVEN GO TO A LOCAL PARK, WITHOUT, LOOKING AROUND, AND, VISUALIZING OUR THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE GATHERED THERE. ON SAFE GROUND.
IT WAS NO ACCIDENT THAT HOMELESS PEOPLE GATHERED AT BEARD BROOK PARK, Modesto. LIKE MINDED PEOPLE. A SAFE PLACE TO TENT UP IN THE SHADE. A WALKING DISTANCE FROM SALLY’S, DOWNTOWN, TRANSPO, AND, THE SHELTERS (AFTER, MERCILESSLY KICKED OUT FOR THE DURATION OF THE HOT, CHILLY, WINDY OR WET DAYS).
I THINK BACK, HOW TOO MANY YEARS, SINCE, I MET AT THE SENIOR CENTER, ON BODEM, modesto, TO HEAR THE VOICES OF PARENTS COMPLAIN THAT THEY WANTED THE PARKS BACK FROM THE HOMELESS PEOPLE.
That was the CATALYST for the locals to PRETEND the people without homes were, also, RIGHTLESS.
The children needed the parks (a few hours a week, AT MOST), more need than that of THOSE WITHOUT HOMES NEED 24 HOURS A DAY…
HOGWASH! GIVE, AT LEAST, THE PARK BACK TO THOSE WITHOUT HOMES FOR SAFE GROUND, WHILE THE COUNTY AND CITY SCURRY ABOUT TO NAME ALTERNATIVE SAFE GROUNDS, is just one of my DEMANDS.
What do you suggest, if you do not mind my ask?
WHAT SHOULD SACRAMENTO DO FOR HOMELESS CHILDREN?
I gather that you, too, think ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Thank you, Laura. WE HEAR IN Modesto AGREE.
We need to address homelessness before it gets to the point of homelessness. The money they are throwing at the problem would be better spent in a program that helps people out before they are evicted. If someone is struggling to pay the rent because of job loss, sickness or other unforeseen things then there should be a place for them to ask for assistance until they can again make it on their own. This assistance should include rent money, food, and information about managing money and eating healthy and also helping to manage paperwork and finding a new job. After the person becomes homeless the cost of everything goes up and the person’s problems become more pronounced. This program would also give jobs to people needed to assist the people asking for help. It is a win, win as far as I am concerned.
Niki Marie says
Who’s paying the bill for Archway commons affordable housing? I applied through the housing authority website application portal. So it seems like it’s a HUD housing complex. My application was selected right away since I applied the minute the application site opened up. It’s seemed like a miracle since my two kids and I are homeless for over 3 years. Been on the housing authority wait list since 2016 and haven’t moved up even one spot. Even though I have situations to skip the line I never pushed for it cause really I don’t want anyone cutting the line in front of me so I’m not one to cut either. But for this 3 bedroom apartment I was first in line to submit my application. The applications are pulled by the time and date stamp and available unit size matches what you applied for. I was so excited for my kids to finally have a safe home and for us to be able to start really living our lives and for my son’s to finally unpack their toys from storage before they are too old to play with toys anymore. I was selected and meet the income qualifications, can pass the background check and also pass the credit criteria outlined on the EAH housing website. I received an email with notice of being selected. The information I found out was outdated as it said the appointments were done virtually due to Covid. The appointment is to bring in your income and identity documents. There is also a secure section in the application to upload those documents and I did so when I first applied. The notice came on November 17 and said I must make contact by November 23 or be removed from list. I left a voicemail and sent an email each day until the 22 someone finally answered. The leasing agent told me that I was already being removed for failure to respond by the 23rd. I explained to her that it was actually the 22nd at that very moment and that I had also left voicemails and emails each day since I received the notice. She responded that ok they will give me one last chance and go ahead and reschedule me another appointment since I missed the first one. I was thinking WTF? Cause I didn’t miss any appointments or fail to respond. But I was polite and thanked her for the time she chose for me without asking when was good Saturday December 3 at 1:30. So on December 2 I sent an email like hey I’m confirming my attendance attendance tomorrow at 1:30. She wrote back yes at 1:30. The next day was a tough day and literally my car got me to the gate to the complex. With no code to open it and no call button for visitors I was stuck there with angry residents honking yelling at me to move and my car was in a fragile state with the axel about to break. Well that hairpin turn you have to make if you can’t go through the gate was the end of my SUV as the axel broke right there at the gate. Then I was blocking both the entrance and the exit gates and the residents watched me trying to push my SUV all by myself in pouring rain and just kept honking and yelling and smacking my car with the exit gate. I was thinking wow I don’t know if I’d even want these a**holes for neighbors but beggars can’t be choosers right?? Finally a woman and a little girl who were also there for intake came to help me push my car out to 9th street to wait for a tow truck. I called the leasing manager to tell her I was outside but had car trouble and would be a little late. She informed me that I didn’t even have an appointment that day. Huh? I confirmed it yesterday even?? She finally got back to me that whoops they have two applicants with my uncommon name. She said I’d have to come back in two weeks. I told her well I am here and all my documents are actually uploaded. She repeated that the next appointment was my last chance since I missed the first one. I still don’t understand wtf she is saying this unless its the mixup with same name girl but then you’d think she’s stop saying things like I missed the appointment when she should now know it was the other girl that missed. Poor girl probably didn’t even miss. She probably got the same bs runaround. Pretty soon it seemed clear I was being gas lit by the leasing agent. She continued the nonsense with saying I missed appointments or why I didn’t bring the money order no one told me about. She gave me 7 days to get new birth certificates for my kids cause she wouldn’t take the stamped copies from the county HSA. She rescheduled 15 minutes before the next appointment due to the storm but when I tried to reschedule due to being in a flood shelter with all roads out closed and no intracity buses running she denied me the apartment. Said I was offered an apartment three times and I refused to accept it. The truth is that the people running the new affordable housing have their own agenda and friends and family and the units are for those people. Not the people who are selected from the resident selection plan or who qualify for the units. They are just weeding out everyone until they get to the people they want. They made it impossible to submit my already submitted documents. They lied about me missing appointments I was not ever told about and made ridiculous obstacles like refusing to accept birth verifications that are accepted at the school district, welfare office, social security administration. Then I started looking up EAH housing online and found out about all the court cases, complaints by tenants and how horrible and corrupt they are at the other sites. Unbelievable that the city of Modesto chose this company to build this affordable housing project. 8 of the units are supposed to be for the downtown streets team also. Is that actually happening? Maybe I can move into one of the units at the Kansas house after the DST person is moved to their new apartment at Archway commons??
I am frustrated, anxious, and exhausted from just following along with the run around you are at the mercy of from Archway.
I do not know who is paying the bill for Archway. Other than tax payers, of course. Know that is not the answer you seek.
I think these housing groups, public and private, are from a whole nother planet. Twilight Zone stuff. They frazzle the nerves and tramatize prospective tenants to the point that by the time one communicates with them one can seem mentally unbalanced. Not conducive to being taken seriously. They want to reduce people to losing self-agency so they settle for their substandard way of sloppy bookkeeping.
Management ends up telling you what their reality is, ignoring your truth. Yet, counselors will be the first to espouse that people’s subjective feelings are just as legitimate as objective fact.
The city of Modesto and the County of Stanislaus owes it to prospective tenants to have a legitimate complaint process. You have records of emails and County certified stamped birth records that, as you acknowledge, are acceptable documents at government offices and agencies. I agree.
Have you contacted Project Sentinel to speak with an attorney who may communicate with Archway, or the powers that be, that you have met all that was expected of you as an applicant, there fore, honor your right to an appointment leading to your acceptance into a rental unit.
Perhaps you may ask Project Sentinel to log all communication to and from Archway through their office, so you have confirmation of all that transpires. Believe me, we all need witnesses, of what is said and done, now a days. Too many shifty shysters out there not taking care of business and counting on prospective tenants to have no access to support of their facts of how things went down.
When it comes to business: get everything, possible, in writing, and ask for a copy of each and everything. State to them it is for your own records. Keep a log of every phone call, full name of who you spoke to, run down of what was said, date and time. Do not hesitate to look straight into their eyes and speak as calmly and firmly as you can. Ask everyone, whom you are speaking to, and, their title. It gets easier and easier. They will recognize you are no push over.
From what I am able to gather from your reply you are already a critical thinker. What I offered here may already be your mode of handling yourself. Never apologize for advocating for yourself.
One more pertinent point, once I know I am getting no where, I bumb it up a notch or more. I firmly request to speak with someone with authority, their supervisor or director. Otherwise you will find yourself repeating yourself over and over to people who are likely not able to grant you the permission you seek. People at the top are more apt to listen attentively and able to demand you are treated with respect from there onward.
Keep us Valley Citizens in the loop. Share with us how things are going.
Personally, I, too, think the same name excuse is just that, an excuse. Ask the director if there is another person with your name. Confidentiality will not permit telling you, but you can explain you were told their was. It lets them know someone is asleep at the wheel and attempting to cover up after themself, which you should never be subjected to.
I would write a letter of complaint to Modesto’s Mayor and a copy to County Supervisor, Withrow. Requesting they look into Archway’s treatment. Attaching emails, etc. Ask why your copies of birth certificates from county files will not suffice, and if not, at least until you can get others.
Consider the following:
Mark envelope and email, “TO THE PERSONAL ATTENTION OF THE MAYOR” OR “SUPRV. WITHROW”
Follow up by phone, a week after mailing, to ascertain that both Mayor and Supervisor received your letters. Then ask to speak with each of them, to see how they will proceed. Address the fact that you will not be satisfied if the letters were simply forwarded elsewhere. State your urgency and that you thank them ahead of time for PERSONALLY seeing to it that your matter is not lost on someone’s desk like your ARCHWAY application and file has been, thus far. State you will call back to learn the status.
If you get the run around, make an appearance at their City Council and Supervisorial meetings. Speak up and voice your dissatisfactions. Speak for all would be tenants that deserve better access to housing. Bring friends and family if you like. More voices. Write out a 3 minute speech to help you get your points in order.
Or not. Entirely up to you. May God bless
Ron Bridegroom says
A bit more information about this ” The City of Turlock recently approved 50 container-built apartments for homeless people at a cost of just under $10 million, or roughly $200,000 each. The decision to build the apartments was highly controversial, with some Turlock City Councilmembers and members of the public opposing the project because of the high cost per unit”
The proposed shipping container based transitional housing units were hardly any better than the picture the author included in his article of a “Pallet Shelter Interior” at a cost of $200k each.
The contractor and city manager lied over and over again to the public and council about who could live there and what they would be required to do.
It also has not gotten the final approval from the council to submit an application to HomeKey