On December 8, we asked Stanislaus County CEO Jody Hayes whether rumors about fentanyl overdoses at the Stanislaus Recovery Center (SRC) were true. SRC is the county facility for treatment of drug addiction and mental illness.
We also asked how many residents had been evicted from Stanislaus County’s low barrier shelter since January 1, and how many were denied entry since that time. Finally, we asked how many seriously mentally ill (SMI) homeless people were presently on the streets of Modesto.
The county’s response from Assistant Executive Director Ruben Imperial came on Friday, December 23. As we strongly suspected, there have been fentanyl overdoses at SRC. Citing restrictive state regulations regarding patient privacy, Imperial didn’t release the precise number of opioid overdoses since January 1; the county claims there have been fewer than eleven.
Imperial also reported that 38 people have been evicted from the low barrier shelter over the course of this year. He added that there is no record of the number who have been denied entry. Finally, Imperial admitted that the county doesn’t know how many seriously mentally ill homeless people are on the streets of Modesto on any given day.
We didn’t ask, but we believe that Stanislaus County officials also don’t know how many elderly, ill, and disabled homeless people are in Modesto on any given day.
Our purpose in asking these question is to show Stanislaus County has failed to manage homelessness in its jurisdiction. In its June, 2022 report on homelessness, the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury reported that,
Despite enormous funding for homeless programs, and despite the fact that there are many individual successes, overall the system to date has not reduced homelessness.
And added that,
There is insufficient accountability for the effective use of homeless funds. While many agencies are accountable to their funding sources, primary responsibility for measuring accountability and effectiveness rests with the Community Services Agency, the Community System of Care, and the Stanislaus Homeless Alliance.
Whereas the Grand Jury declined to, “get into the specific details as to where the money is coming from and where it is going,” our aim going forward is to show in precise detail how squandered funds, failed strategies, and lack of leadership at the city and county levels have failed to manage the growing humanitarian crisis known as “homelessness.”
Most especially, we hope to show that failures by local government to manage homelessness have resulted in lost business, depreciation of property values, increased hazards to public health and hygiene, and a loss of confidence in public agencies in general. Moreover, we will show that current tactics for managing homelessness are not only ineffective, they are also cruel.
We’ll be showing that Stanislaus County has failed to collect and assess data necessary to manage homelessness, especially because of a lack of coordination and accountability among the many agencies, public and nonprofit, that have attempted and failed to stem rising homeless numbers. We’ll show that, despite claims that there are adequate “services” for anyone who wants help, the county lacks sufficient capacity and staff to manage local homeless numbers and needs.
Most of all, we’ll be asking Valley citizens who have listened to officials who persist in boasting about their “progress” in addressing homelessness to do one thing:
Believe your eyes.
L R says
You want to hear the truth about the workers at and treatment and such at Berbarian/ Low Barrier (Aces) homeless shelter. Find a place for a bunch of us that live here and have for anywhere from 6 mo -3 yrs or more to meet privately. You’ll get the truth. The uncalled for deaths. Massive OD’s. Mistreatment. Poor meals. Things taken away. Donations taken away and employees taking them hone. We have a whole lot to tell. 95 % of the INMATES are drug addicts. That’s all they do all day. That’s all they care to do. The employees are not SKILLED in the positions they hold. It’s a HUGE issue. Many employees came from Beardbrook or Moe’s and are no different than the next INMATE. But it sure doesn’t appear that way. Get in touch
Shelly Moore says
Wow…I’m wondering that of the people who are slamming the workers, the facilities, or the misuse of funds, have ever tried to get assistance from any of these sources? What do you expect them to do? You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. I am a homeless woman staying at the salvation army low barrier facility as I write this. I see people who are perfectly capable of getting up and showering, yet they stay in there beds my all day and complain about the way it is ran. ..Do you all that are complaining about the services expect the shelter and it’s employees to do everything for you then give you the keys to a home that you will probably be evicted from within a year? The funds that are available to help us get back on our feet are still available, but there are steps we as the homeless need to take in order to receive them. Such as, getting all the required documents needed, ( birth certificate, social security card, proof of income, and proof of homeless) nothing that is impossible to get, they even pay for you to get those documents if there is a fee… They do more for us then you people are giving them credit for.. and for those who are not mentally capable of taking care of those things, they are willing to help us, but they are not going to do it for us… The ones that are recovering drug addicts that are working at the shelter are an inspiration to me that there is a better way to live even if it means spending your days right back at the shelter they started from.. So why not talk about the good that these services offer and instead of slamming the efforts to help why don’t you volunteer to help since you know so much abouthow to fix it!!
Terry Withrow says
Amen Shelly !!
Good for you
LOU VALERO says
Despite the services that are helpful, that the shelter offers, it ought to be a lot further along in fine tuning services, after all this time and money spent.
Certainly you are not going to let Shelly speak for you, after all this time. We Valley Citizens have been waiting to hear personal word from you.
I have a question to ask you:
Why is there not, YET, at least a Pilot Program of safe ground space equipped with facilities for those without homes, such as parking for vehicles people use to get ample necessary rest in, AND, ample room to erect dry places to humbly abide within [can be tents WHEN necessary]; hot running water; toilets; showers; phone charging kiosk; picnic benches; timely trash pick up; minimal personal storage; a simple code of rules to live by [in order to maintain continued entrance]?
This is the absolute least the County ought to be providing, locally, ASAP, within January 2023.
Good for you, and those who are houseless.
Can we get your earnest reply?
Nina Martinez says
I agree with the first comment. I was at Beardbrook and Moes and what was said to us was a lie!! We were told that we would be housed first and that help was coming. There may be 10% housed and the rest of us have been thrown to the wolves. I was kicked out of the shelter bc someone put a mini wine beverage on my bed while I was at work. They ran sacked my stuff found no evidence of alcohol, I don’t drink alcohol and they wouldn’t show me video at all. There are so many stories I can tell you it will make you sick. So many deaths so many times we have been treated unfair. You have a better chance of getting Into Yale or Harvard then to get into the shelter. I have spoke up about this is in city meetings and our voice isn’t heard. Matt who runs the salvation army is a cold piece. I’ll tell you were this money is going.. to his shoe collection!! He’s a pastor at a church but won’t pray with the residents. Every employee there is dirty. They have this controlling demeanor that they are better than the residents there they treat the residents like garbage, and most of them were homeless at some point not necessarily like really homeless just at a low point in their life and they think they know everything they don’t know what it’s like to struggle. On top of that they’re not educated they are not experienced and they don’t know how to do their positions the proper way. I personally think if you’ve never been homeless before like really homeless then you shouldn’t be in that type of job position because you will never understand the struggle. Not to mention they steal from the homeless all of the donations I get sent over is gone through by the employees and they take what they want first lots of brand new things get donated but the residents will never see it the employees will take arms full of clothes shoes hygiene and keep it for themselves. The residents never see these donations and if you go over there and try to donate on your own to the residence they will kick you out. The food is a joke you do not get a full course meal and they run out of food so quick which doesn’t make sense if you’re making food for 300 people there should be enough food for 300 people especially if only 200 people go to eat because not everybody gets in to eat. I have no problem exposing and expressing my opinion about this and I’ll be more than happy to be contacted to give my two cents about it. I have been on the waiting list for housing for three and a half years nobody ever calls me to update me nobody ever calls to tell me anything I called to get myself updated and the last time I called all of a sudden my application was lost they said that they lost my application and that I didn’t qualify anymore because when they called me I didn’t answer that’s a bunch of bull. I go in there a few times a week to check my mail they’ve seen me they could have said something I never got no phone call so I had to restart my application process all over again that was almost a year ago and I still have not heard anything from them however those people that are not homeless and are being housed immediately. The city needs to do something they send the city employees over to go do a walk through or the people that donate their money go for a walkthrough at the salvation army and Matt is very cautious about getting them in and out they don’t let them talk to nobody they don’t let them give their opinion about what’s really going on so these people think that their money is going to this all high and mighty place and it’s really just being pocketed. Count me in I’m in I’ll give you all the information that you can put my name out there I don’t care.
Every word you spoke is exactly what I have encountered on the job and while I volunteered. I wrote about some of it some months back, for Valley Citizens to be aware of.
The airs of one-up-man-ship that exists by many staff or volunteers, in parachurch services, surprisingly, reeks. Not all who call themselves believers in Messiah are mature or experienced enough in their gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus they need a mature shepherd to equip them, and keep ears and eyes on before entirely leaving them on their own.
And, “Yes” they can be the first to go through the bags of donations, and think nothing about helping themselves to the best of what arrives, each and every time. There should be a serious policy to prevent any level of helping oneself from any donations gifted to the needy. In this case gifted to the homeless at the shelter not just to any one at the shelter. No one should get first dibs, despite the law of the threshing bull. There certainly should only be trusted staff and volunteer members in charge of the sacred job of sorting thru and dividing up among the truly needy. That is, after all, the purpose that donations are donated in the first place. I know often
taken home to disperse amongst family and friends who do not need donations.
Unfortunately seldom is the issue raised for fear that, if word gets out donations will cease. Or the one who speaks up will come under what is known as “mobbing” against the whistleblower, carried out by the guilty ones. So, thank you, Nina Martinez, for using your name, because Valley Citizens will then know that, if you undergo any ill experience from any of them, what the motivation was.
It is what Valley Citizens need to be aware of. So they can understand why so many homeless are not eager to seek shelter at shelters, amongst the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Not everyone who calls themselves a believer in Messiah are speaking Truth.
I can say more, but Valley Citizens want to hear more from you, Nina, and others who know, first hand, what is really going on in the shelter(s) and other Stan County agency facilities.
As for Shelly who also wrote about the shelter, I only have one point to make: Depression is often what can cause other shelter residents to remain in their cots extended hours and not be able to see any hope that showering and keeping up appearances, for appearances sake, is worth it. When reality sets in that the housing promised is a long time coming, if at all, and other realities of life rear their ugly heads, while at the same time the culture of people surrounding them within the shelter environment, they came to, after being promised housing, is made up of those who are more apt to be judgmental toward them, rather than encouraging them, and some seem always to have some type of hidden agendas for giving them any attention at all, instead of sincere interest in their welfare,
that is enough to cause many to want to shut out the world. Sleeping away the life, they find useless, is a form of self-medicating. You do you, and let them do them. Everyone copes differently. Thank, God Almighty, they are still with us, despite some of the lack of fellow feeling toward them. None of us need toot our own horn. Amen!
I have not forgotten that some gave up fur babies in order to go to the shelter then obtain housing. Fur babies are emotional support babies. Promises need to be kept and not idly given. I would be righteously angry if I gave up my fur baby and got no permanent housing after all this time. And all they get, thus far, from Terry Withrow was an Amen…
Nina Martinez says
Thank you for your encouraging words . I am more than happy to speak the truth and sign my name behind it. I haven’t seen too much bad and not enough good. These cold winter rainy nights or no joke for those that are still out on the street. You start to lose hope when there’s no help and luckily for the gentleman that commented about getting housed that’s amazing that’s awesome and I’m very happy for him. However it doesn’t work like that for everybody. He must have been new and was a new face and the worker probably housed in fast enough just to hurt other residents that he may not have liked and unfortunately that is the truth of the matter. It is a popularity contest amongst the workers on how they treat the homeless. I have seen so much unfairness I have seen and heard and witnessed and because I stand up for not just myself but for other people my paperwork always gets pushed to the very very bad for some reason. I have a lot to say and more than willing to say it
Nina Martinez says
***I have seen too much bad and not enough good
Shonnia Cobb says
I know exactly what you are saying Because I was told my application was lost to they told me I had to start over and I 100% Know how Matt is and the employees etc After being kicked out 3 years ago I never went back Especially now that Matt is top dog He and I don’t get along And the few employees that I trusted Left long ago I want to say well said
Larry Brewer says
U said a mouthful .I was released from lockup and stayed at Modesto gospel mission for 10 months during that time I got a voucher to get my id and then got in touch with try he VA who got me a sec 8 voucher and veteran assistant housing.i was so surprised that after my contact with VA I had my own apartment in a month .there is help if u seek it and stay clean from drugs and alcohol it takes time and commitment.a major change in lifestyle and and being accountable for ur own actions
Teresa Woody says
Well Shelly this article is 100% correct and everything that it says and I know this for a fact because I’ve been part of the system and I haven’t been part of the system but let me tell you this system is broken, very, very broken. But I would also like to add that there are very very good workers and it’s Stanislaus County through Community Service Agency through Trinity Housing Shelter Services; they used to be called the Asus program through Behavioral Health. These people are awesome they are really awesome people and they do work very hard but the problem is they don’t have the funding to hire more people to help them and it’s sad because they really want other people to get in there and help them do what needs to be done it’s just the powers that may be in our community in Santa Claus County decide they don’t have the funding to hire more people well I think they need to look into that again because these workers work really really hard and they try really really hard and they’re awesome people .
Renee Judd says
Modesto police seem to have forgotten federal mandates, and we obviously don’t have beds for everyone, so their continuing harassment, including taking people’s tents and blankets goes beyond cruelty!! One person has died of exposure. How many more before someone leashes the police force?!?!
Debra Gaestel says
The solution lies within. There is no such thing as mental illness. We are all spiritually sick. Our system is corrupt and our solutions only enable oppression to exist. When we place unhealed people in positions of power and money over addictions and mental illnesses are we not just making a living off of people’s suffering? Throwing unearned taxpayers money to most nonprofits is making a deal with the devil and prolonging pain and suffering to those sent to these agencies for help. We can no longer enable victimization for our solutions. Sending people to 12 step programs is actually throwing the lamb into the wolves den. You will never get an honest accounting for money received because the recipients are thieves.