The Salvation Army’s Hope Harbor Shelter, the largest shelter in Lodi, on Wednesday helped with a count to determine how many homeless people are living in San Joaquin County.
The Point-in-Time Count in Lodi is the second of four counts happening in the county.
The Hope Harbor Shelter is a place that provides families and people who are sober from drugs and alcohol a bed to sleep in at night as well as food and services to help their living situation.
Shelter director John Narvaez, Jodie Hackett, a women’s case manager for the shelter, and other shelter employees greeted and counted unsheltered people who stopped to grab a meal at Grace & Mercy Charitable Foundation. Grace & Mercy is a local soup kitchen located at 425 N. Sacramento St.
Narvaez said his shelter helped collect donations to distribute at the count such as hygiene bags, socks, clothing and other necessary items needed for unsheltered people.
“Salvation Army’s always willing to take part to meet the next need of the community,” Narvaez said.
Anyone using the shelter can stay for 56 days and stays can be extended by 28 days on a case-by-case basis.
In 2019, the Point-in-Time count found that out of 2,629 homeless people living in San Joaquin County, 9 percent of them were living in the streets of Lodi.
State and federal funding will be given to each city in the county, depending on their numbers in this year’s count, to address and find solutions to help unsheltered people.
According to Narvaez, since Hope Harbor is a clean shelter, meaning no one is allowed to use drugs or drink alcohol, it leaves some people still unhoused.
However, the city is looking to find different alternatives for people who are struggling with sobriety.
“That is a barrier for some and that’s why Lodi is in the process now of creating an Access Center,” Narvaez said.
In October, the Lodi City Council approved a location for the center that will have services including housing navigation and mental health and substance use treatment.
According to a statement from the city, a temporary emergency shelter will be implemented midway through 2022 to begin housing up to 50 unsheltered people while the permanent center is developed over the next year and a half.