The Stockton City Council voted unanimously this week to approve an agreement handing over operations of the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless to St. Mary’s Dining Room.

City officials said not only did St. Mary’s Dining Room assume operations of the shelter facilities, but they additionally took over an expansion project for a $5 million Navigation Center that will provide temporary housing and services to unhoused people.

During the transfer agreement process, city officials determined that operation of the shelter buildings resulted in a budget shortfall of $10.8 million, or $3.6 million per year for a period of three years, that would be needed to keep the shelter running.

San Joaquin County approved $5.4 million in operational funding and the Stockton City Council on Tuesday approved the same amount to fill the budget gap.

The shelters, along with other housing projects in the city, will expand St. Mary’s sheltering services to 800 beds.

“St. Mary’s has demonstrated the leadership, ability, and capacity to expand their service offerings and operations to provide an immediate turnkey, campus-wide solution for our unsheltered community,” said Connie Cochran, a spokesperson for the city.

“They have a proven high-quality service delivery model and board of directors committed to a sustainable, long-term solution, that will be supported by a master plan,” Cochran said.

“Homelessness is a larger issue that will take years and years to address, but I really believe that sufficient shelter beds can end unsheltered homelessness in our community.”

Petra Linden, St. Mary’s Dining Room CEO

Stockton Shelter for the Homeless, located at 411 S. Harrison St., is a 24-hour emergency shelter that provides food, clothing, and services to homeless people and families.

In July, the shelter had notified city officials that they intended to close their doors by Aug. 15, which would leave more than 200 members of the shelter without a place to go.

On July 31, the city of Stockton declared a local emergency to protect people using the shelter and city leaders said they began to look at other possible ways to keep the shelter from shutting down.

St. Mary’s Dining Room is now set to provide low-barrier, 24/7 shelter operations that include providing security and facility management for all shelter buildings, beds, showers, food, and case management for Stockton’s unsheltered homeless, the city said.

“Homelessness is a larger issue that will take years and years to address, but I really believe that sufficient shelter beds can end unsheltered homelessness in our community,” Petra Linden, St. Mary’s Dining Room CEO, said during a presentation at the City Council meeting.

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.

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