A gathering of more than 40 people representing county and local community groups and non-profit organizations stretched across the Riverbank Community Center on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
Mayor Richard O’Brien called the meeting to address several ideas before the holiday season arrives.
First, the group heard of the local efforts to take care of the homeless population in Stanislaus County. Ruben Imperial of the county’s Chief Executive Office discussed statistics his office has been collecting recently. He is the Community Development and Empowerment Manager for the county. He said in the recent tally, there have been 12 people identified out and about town, classified as homeless.
However, Imperial said, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) measures homelessness one way, and the state schools system measures it differently.
He said HUD counts as homeless people without a job and a place to live. He said the schools include households that have more than one family, and perhaps not enough food to eat, as homeless. They may be unemployed or underemployed, he said, but the statistics vary.
Mayor O’Brien has suggested the assembled organizations band together to hold a coordinated fundraiser each year, splitting the proceeds among participants. A crab feed was suggested, but with recent developments in the crab industry, including postponement of the harvesting season, that seems unlikely for this year.
The group also discussed their many activities scheduled for the coming holiday season, hoping not to interfere with each other’s projects, nor duplicate efforts.
Another topic discussed was emergency preparedness. It was pointed out that it’s time for the city to update its five-year plan. Staff members suggested that coordinating that information might be helpful.
Although this gathering has been hosted as an annual event so far, it has been suggested that it be expanded to quarterly meetings.