STOCKTON (CBS13) — Help is on its way for hundreds of homeless men, women and children living in the streets of Stockton and San Joaquin County.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a new grant to help existing programs that move people off the streets and into housing.
Disabled veteran Teddy Mahmah spent one year living in the streets of Stockton. He struggled every day to find food and shelter.
“It wasn’t nice; you had to worry about, believe it or not, there are some people out there, I call them man hunters because they have nothing to do and they are out drinking, and they want to rob the homeless,” he said.
But it was a local program that helped him, and many other homeless individuals survive and get back on track.
“Without it, it’s over. Without, this is going to be a continuing cycle, move here, get kicked out, move there, get kicked out, it’s never going to end,” he said.
This year, Stockton and San Joaquin County will receive approximately $4.4 million through HUD’s Continuum of Care Grant. It would allow organizations to continue helping the homeless.
“Anytime, we can partner with the local communities to affect these issues, we will and at the end of the day, this is an issue that goes to the character of the government,” said Jim Stracner, regional director for HUD.
The grant will fund permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, and housing for former foster youth. It will also be used to hire a program administrator of homeless initiatives.
“We’re especially pleased that was approved in this year’s allocation, and we look forward to recruiting a real top-notch individual to help lead our communities forward,” said Kathy Miller, supervisor of San Joaquin County.
More than 1,500 homeless people live in San Joaquin County most are in Stockton receiving services with nearly four hundred calling the streets home. Although the money won’t solve the problem of moving people off the streets, service providers say it will help keep local programs running.
“Partnership is the key to this game. I would say the county, the city and now our federal partners are working like never before to come up with a comprehensive strategy and plan to reduce the amount of homeless individuals,” said Mayor Michael Tubbs.
City leaders are holding a special meeting that focuses just on the homeless on Feb. 6.