THE CITY OF STOCKTON announced Thursday that an agreement was reached with the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless to remain open to provide services for unhoused residents.

The non-profit shelter will be subleased to St. Mary’s Dining Room as early as next month, city officials said. St. Mary’s Dining Room is a nonprofit that has been aiding people in poverty and homelessness since 1955. It provides wraparound support services such as food, showers and care for health issues.

“Both nonprofit organizations have agreed to terms and conditions that will allow for a smooth and orderly transition, protecting the families, women and men who are served by the Stockton Shelter,” the city said in a statement, adding that the move will sustain vital emergency shelter services for the community.

People congregate outside St. Mary’s Dining Room in an undated Google Street View image. The organization will now extend its services to continue providing shelter for the unhoused residents in Stockton following an agreement with the city and the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless. (Google image)

The shelter had previously planned to close its doors by Tuesday, leaving nearly 250 people unhoused without a clear explanation of the need to shut down, the city said earlier this month.

The announcement prompted City Manager Harry Black to issue a local emergency so that he could enter into contracts and draw funding from various accounts to help the shelter.

Started in an ‘unacceptable’ conflict

However, getting the shelter to agree to a contract regarding terms for St. Mary’s to take over the sublease as well as the operations wasn’t a smooth deal earlier in the month.

Black said at a press conference that the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless and St. Mary’s Dining Room were both sent an agreement at the end of July that would transfer the current lease of the shelter site to the dining hall to prevent a gap in services.

However, on Aug. 2, the shelter allegedly had sent back the sublease agreement to the city, redlining parts of the document and included “language that was unacceptable”, according to Black.

Parts of the agreement where the shelter did not agree with the city were redlined or “highlighted.”

“We will continue to work toward a smooth transition, ensuring that the most vulnerable of our community have a roof over their heads and access to all necessary services.”

City Manager Harry Black

The disagreement caused the city to send the shelter a letter ordering them to vacate the property.

“From the onset of this ordeal, we have been pursuing multiple strategies and assignment of the sublease has been one of the strategies,” Black said.

Reflection of ‘passion, commitment’

“Resolving this matter has required a collective effort. Staff, across city government, have been working hard on this and in tandem with our external partners. We will continue to work toward a smooth transition, ensuring that the most vulnerable of our community have a roof over their heads and access to all necessary services.”

According to the city, the agreement between the city, the shelter and St. Mary’s will allow guests of the shelter to receive services without relocation or disruption of services.

“We are excited that we have been able to facilitate the assignment of the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless sublease to St. Mary’s Dining Room,” Black said in the statement.

Mayor Kevin Lincoln said in a press release that the agreement reached reflected the compassion and commitment of the entire community.

Victoria Franco is a Stockton-based reporter covering the diverse news around the Central Valley as part of the Report for America program. As a Stockton native, Franco is proud to cover stories within her community and report a variety of coverage. She is a San Jose State University alumna with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. In her collegiate years she was Managing Editor for the Spartan Daily. From her time at the Spartan Daily she helped lead her staff to California College Media Awards and a General Excellence first place. Victoria encourages readers to email her story tips and ideas at victoria.franco@baycitynews.com.