Addressing Homelessness in Tracy

       “Clean up our parks!” is the shortest version of the plea of many of Tracy's residents. I hear you. Homelessness is the main focus of those sentiments, with the concentration felt most at El Pescadero Park. Whether you live nearby, your children or grandchildren attend the local school, you have little ones at the preschool, or you frequent the park for recreation or simply to donate items to the adjacent non profit; you have been met with the challenges brought by the homeless encamped at the park. Understanding there’s a fine line between being sensitive to those in need and being intimidated and not feeling free or safe, desiring to regain the park for its original use for the community; it’s important to know that the solution includes both elements: helping house the homeless restores the parks back to the community.

       For almost ten years I have been working diligently to address the homeless issue in Tracy. Only since 2018 has the Council had the collective will to work towards truly addressing the challenge which began with building a new homeless shelter. 2020 further exasperated and expanded the homeless issue with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in the Martin v. City of Boise case that significantly impacted how cities respond to homeless individuals residing on public property - the ruling resolved that the 8th Amendment prohibits cities from using criminal enforcement to prevent people who do not have shelter available to them from sitting, sleeping, or lying on public property.

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       I’m proud that with diligent effort, we broke ground on June 7th for the Temporary Emergency Housing Facility which will open this Fall, addressing the impacts of homelessness in our parks and public spaces as well as improving access to social services resources in our City to help lift those we serve out of homelessness. Additionally, we continue to respond to the fluctuating needs of the surrounding community including police patrols of the park.